The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has insisted that the proposed 5% excise duty on telecommunications services will not be implemented.

He also stated that any policy formulated after the exemption declared by President Muhammadu Buhari in March of this year is overridden by it.

Reacting to the Fiscal Policy Measure document recently released by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, which listed the telecom tax as part of measures to be implemented this year, Pantami, in a statement released on Wednesday, urged Nigerians and telecom industry stakeholders to disregard the policy document.

The Minister recalled that President Buhari had, on March 21, 2023, approved the exemption of the telecommunications sector from the proposed excise duty in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Review Committee on Excise Duty in the Digital Economy Sector.

Incidentally, the document from the Finance Ministry also claimed that the fiscal policy measures, which included the implementation of the telecom tax were approved by the President.

Pantami in the statement signed by his spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman, said:

“The attention of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) has been drawn to a document circulating online titled; Approval for the implementation of the 2023 fiscal policy measures and tariff amendments allegedly emanating from a government institution.

“However, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the office of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, wishes to clarify the public misconception and press inquiry contained in the letter.

The Minister further emphasized that besides overburdening the sector, imposing additional taxes on the sector will bring hardship to the citizens of the country and appealed to the President’s compassion in his decision.

Based on the committee’s submission, Pantami said President Buhari specifically approved the following prayer:

“The government exempts the digital economy sector from excise duty charges in order to sustain and enhance the use of digital economy services and to further benefit from their positive impacts on the economy.”

“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 the issue, and we stand by it. Any contrary proclamation should be disregarded by the general public,” Pantami said.

When it was first announced last year, Pantami vehemently opposed the proposed 5% excise duty for telecommunications services on the grounds that it was unjustifiable and would be burdensome for the citizens of the country.

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