Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, says federal government is on course to implement the five percent excise duty on telecommunications services.
The development is coming despite criticism over the implementation of the tax.
Last week, Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, faulted plans to implement a five percent excise duty on telecommunication services in Nigeria.
In a statement on Thursday, Yunusa Abdullahi, spokesperson to the ministry of finance, budget and national planning, quoted Ahmed as saying at a stakeholders’ meeting, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Ahmed, represented by Musa Umar, assistant director, tax policy, federal ministry of finance, budget and national planning, noted that all relevant agencies, including the communications ministry, were informed of the implementation of the tax approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Against the comments by Isa Ali Pantami, honourable minister of communication and digital economy, concerning the five percent excise duty hike on telecoms services, it is worth noting that there was a circular stating the planned hike which was addressed to the communication minister and other relevant ministries and agencies of government,” the statement reads.
“The circular Referenced No. F. 17417/VI/286, dated 1st March 2022, and titled “Approval for Implementation of the 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures and Tariff Amendments” was addressed to different ministers, including the honourable minister, communications and digital economy and other heads of government agencies.
The minister further faulted the minister’s disapproval, adding that he was involved in the Finance Act.
“In view of the above position of Prof. Pantami, there could be the question of whether he was absent in the whole process that resulted in the Finance Act, which is a product of both the National Assembly and Federal Executive Council (FEC),” the statement adds.
“Suffice this to say that before the Act, the Finance Bill would have been through the FEC of which Prof. Pantami is a member and the National Assembly. In other words, he was involved in the making of the Finance Act, which spells the said excise tariff hike policy.
“Therefore, he could not obviously have had a point in his dissenting views even as the national assembly could not have contradicted itself on this matter because the parliament had passed the Finance Bill before President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law.
“Although Nigeria is celebrated as the largest economy in Africa, translating this wealth into revenues remains a challenge. Considering this in line with the provision of the revised National Tax Policy, which provides the framework for a sustainable tax system that would ensure reliable sources of revenue to government and support economic development.”