The Federal Government of Nigeria has suspended the proposed 5% excise duty on telecommunication services scheduled to take off in 2023 following fierce public resistance,
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, announced this in Abuja during the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Committee on Excise Duty for the Digital Economy Sector.
Pantami had kicked against the excise duty saying it was passed without due consultation. It is part of the provisions of the Finance Act 2020 which was not implemented. When implemented, the excise duty would rise to 12.5 per cent.
The Minister had said he would take further steps to fight it, adding that as “a minister, based on the provision of the constitution of Nigeria, section 148, we are exercising the powers of Mr President.”
He had said that the National Assembly members were not consulted, threatening to “go behind the scenes and go against any policy that will destroy the digital economy sector. We will go to any extent to legitimately and legally defend its interest.”
However, the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had accused him of sabotaging government efforts, adding he cannot claim ignorance of a policy approved by the Federal Executive Council.
She said, “In view of the position of Prof. Pantami, there could be the question whether he was absented in the whole processes that resulted in the Finance Act, which is a product of both the National Assembly and Federal Executive Council.
“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”.