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HomeMisc NewsTech NewsDigital economy minister Pantami declares excise duty on telecoms service illegal

Digital economy minister Pantami declares excise duty on telecoms service illegal

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has asked telecommunication firms and other stakeholders in the sector to ignore any attempt to impose a five percent excise duty on telecom services.

The minister said the sector has been excluded from excise duty tax with approval from President, Muhammadu Buhari, which was announced on the 21st of March, 2023. He affirmed that this supersedes any other declaration regarding the issue.

The minister spoke on the heels of a report indicating that the Federal Government is set to proceed with the implementation of a five percent excise duty tax on mobile telephone services, fixed telephone services, and Internet services despite announcing an earlier exemption.

This was according to the new Fiscal Policy Measures for 2023 via a circular dated April 20, 2023, and signed by the Minister of Finance and Budget, Zainab Ahmed.

A copy of the leaked circular referenced HMFBNP/MDAs/CIRCULAR/2023 FP/04 and titled ‘Approval for the Implementation of the 2023 Fiscal Policy Measures and Tariff Amendments’, stated that the President had approved the implementation of the 2023 fiscal policy measures.

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A part of the document read, “The excise duty on single-use plastics shall also take effect on June 1, 2023. While on the other hand, the excise duty rate on telecommunication services remains as approved by Mr. President and published in the Official Gazette No. 88, Vol. 109 of May 11, 2022.”

However, a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant Media to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Uwa Suleiman, on Wednesday stated that Buhari’s exemption of the digital economy sector from excise duty tax remains, despite new attempts to impose the tax on the sector.

The statement read in part, “The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy hereby assures the sector and the general public that the President’s approval supersedes all other declarations regarding the issue, and we stand by it. Any contrary proclamation should be disregarded by the general public.”

The statement further noted that Pantami remains opposed to the proposed five percent excise duty tax on telecom services.

It stated that the minister considers the tax to be unjustifiable and burdensome on consumers of the service.

(omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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