“I think there is something questionable” – Pantami opposes new tax on calls, data

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The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami says the planned introduction of excise duty on telecommunication services is capable of destroying the digital economy sector.

Pantami stated in his address at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content EXPO (NTICE) in Lagos on Monday, Daily Trust reports.

The minister said it looked questionable that stakeholders in the telecommunications sector were not consulted on the planned introduction.

He said the government should continue to support the growth of the sector instead of burdening it.

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Pantami hailed the National Assembly for raising concerns over the planned introduction of the new tax.

“The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy is not satisfied with any effort to introduce excise duty on Telecommunications. When VAT was increased to 7.5percent, I was not consulted, I only heard the announcement and I think there is something questionable and I am glad that we are on the same page with our national assembly members. They too have not been consulted despite the fact that they are part of the committee.”

“Beyond, making our position known, we will go behind the scene and go against any policy that will destroy the digital economy sector. This is a sector we cherish so much and we are ready to go to any extent, legitimately and legally to defend its interest,” the minister said.

Speaking along the line of the expo’s theme, ‘Stimulating the development of Indigenous Content through innovation and commercialization’, the minister stated that importation must be discouraged as a way of encouraging indigenous content.

He charged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other relevant agencies to strictly enforce the policy for the promotion of indigenous content in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.

“We must enforce this policy and ensure that we have effective monitoring that will not allow any importation into our country, particularly where we have the capacity to produce them locally.

“We should not compromise in any situation because we cannot continue in a situation where people are interested in even importing sim cards into Nigeria. That should not be tolerated. We must support the growth of our economy and improve indigenous contact,” Pantami said.

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