The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has instructed telecom companies and other industry participants to disregard any effort to impose a five per cent excise tax on telecom services.
Pantami argued that the sector has been exempted from excise duty tax with President Muhammadu Buhari’s sanction, which was announced on March 21, 2023. He asserted that this supersedes all previous statements on the subject.
The minister’s remarks followed a report indicating that the Federal Government will proceed with the implementation of a five per cent excise duty tax on mobile telephone services, fixed telephone services, and Internet services, despite having announced an exemption previously.
According to a circular dated 20 April 2023 and signed by the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, this was the new Fiscal Policy Measures for 2023.
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’ revealed that President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) had approved the implementation of the 2023 fiscal policy measures.
A portion of the document stated, “The excise tax on single-use plastics will also go into effect on June 1, 2023.” In contrast, the excise duty rate on telecommunication services will remain the same as approved by Mr President and published in Official Gazette No. 88, Vol. 109, on 11 May 2022.”
A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant Media/Spokesman for the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mrs 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 included the following passage: “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 this issue, and we abide by it. Any announcement to the contrary should be disregarded by the general public.”
The statement added that Pantami continues to oppose the proposed 5% excise tax on telecommunications services.
It was stated that the minister deems the tax to be unjustified and burdensome to service consumers.