A bill currently before the National Assembly is generating concerns among many stakeholders in the telecommunications industry in the country.
The bill titled Communication Service Tax (CST) Bill 2015 proposes to generate revenue for the Federal Government by taxing electronic communications – voice calls, SMS, MMS, data services from telecommunications operators and Pay TV – in the country.
Specifically, the bill seeks to enforce, charge and collect communication service tax (CST) at nice percent rate to be borne by subscribers.
According to the bill, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is empowered to collect the tax which is to be credited into the Federation Account, while the Federal Government will administer and manage the funds.
The tax, according to available information, is expected to be as much as N20 billion monthly.
Many of the Nigerians who have expressed concerns about the bill wondered why the government was pushing such at a time when the economy seems to be in a shambles.
A Public Relations (PR) expert, Mr Akonte Ekine flayed the move, describing it as tantamount to multiple taxation of the telecommunication and information industry, which he termed unfair.
He called on the government to find other ways to generate revenue which will not have so much negative impact on the already struggling masses.
In the same vein, an Integrated Marketing Communications consultant, Mrs Aina Ololade, called on the government to sustain the growth in the info and telecoms industry, instead of stifling it through taxation.