President Muhammadu Buhari has authorised the exemption of the digital economy sector from the 5% excise charge, according to the Minister of Communications and the Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.
During a news conference held by the Presidential Review Committee on Excise Tax on Tuesday in Abuja, Pantami made this statement.
The minister had deferred the introduction of a 5% excise duty on the industry on September 5, 2022.
He said that the sector of the digital economy already has 41 different categories of taxes, levies, and fees; thus, a new excise is not necessary.
Pantami 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.
“We increased revenue generated by 594 per cent from N51 billion quarterly to N481 billion quarterly.
“This is the only sector where the prices of services have been reduced.
“There is no justification for the government to impose more burden on its poor citizens.
“Many MSMEs and SMEs depend on the sector for survival; if the tax is increased, the impact will take a toll on these businesses.”
According to Pantami, Buhari approved the exemption of the digital economy sector from the 5% excise duty on March 6 because it would affect Nigerian citizens.
For his part, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), reaffirmed the commission’s dedication to enhancing the telecom sector.
He added that the average 1 gigabit of data had decreased to N335 from N350 and that the commission’s primary goal had been to reduce the amount of data.
Dabatta called Nigerians to inform them that mobile network carriers were charging high data rates.