The Federal Government has reintroduced the 5% excise duty on telecommunications services despite saying last month that it has been removed.
The 5% excise duty on telecommunications services was part of the new Fiscal Policy Measures (FPM) for 2023 which was announced via a Circular titled, ‘Approval for the Implementation of the Fiscal Policy Measures and Tariff Amendments’, dated 20 April 2023 and signed by the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Nairametrics reported.
The tax is applicable on mobile telephone services (GSM), fixed telephone and internet services, both postpaid and prepaid at the rate of 5%, according to the report.
Recall that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, had announced in March that telecom services have been exempted from the payment of 5% excise duty as stipulated in the Finance Bill 2022.
Pantami at the time said the exemption is in line with the recommendations of a committee, the Presidential Review Committee on Excise Duty in the Digital Economy Sector, which was constituted to review the implementation of excise duty in the telecom sector.
“I am happy to report to you that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the exemption of the digital economy sector from the five per cent excise duty to be paid and this is because of the strength of the argument presented to him by the Committee that additional burden on telecom sector will increase the sufferings of Nigerians and that other sectors that are not making as much contribution to the economy should be challenged to do more and pay the five per cent excise duty,” Pantami said.
“Many MSMEs and SMEs depend on the sector for survival; if the tax is increased, the impact will take a toll on these businesses.”
He further said, “There is no need for excise duty in the telecom sector because the industry is already heavily taxed up to 41 taxes. The sector has been contributing hugely to Nigeria’s economy; more tax burden destroys the industry.
The policy signed by the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, further introduces additional excise taxes ranging from 20% to 100% increases on previously approved rates for alcoholic beverages, tobacco, wines, and spirits effective from 1 June 2023, although excise duty rate on non-alcoholic beverages is however retained at the rate of N10 per litre. according to the report by Nairametrics.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.