The minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami has kicked against the proposed five per cent excise duty on the telecommunications sector and also gave a marching order to stop the importation of some telecommunication items that the country has the capacity to produce including sim cards.
The minister who said if the decision on five percent excise duty is allowed to stand it will affect the telecom sector negatively, pointed out that the decision did not go through wide consultation.
Professor Pantami made the remark in Lagos at a two day maiden edition of Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE 2022), being organized by the NCC’s Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS)Telecommunications indigenous Content Expo, NTICE. Professor Pantami who said that the telecom sector which is already attracting huge revenue, creating jobs and adding value to the Gross Domestic Product should not be over burdened with such taxes pointed out that his office has not received memo to that effect and would legally ensure that it is not implemented.
“I have not been officially informed about it and we at the Ministry are not satisfied with any effort to introduce excise duty on telecommunications” Pantami said
Professor Pantami, said the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy will resist any move to impose an inclusive excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria.
According to Pantami, there are almost seven sectors in Nigeria’s economy that are only contributing almost less than two percent to Nigeria’s economy and ICT contributes more than other sectors should be encouraged, saying that sectors contributing less to GDP should be monitored properly and ensure they do more.
The minister said excise duty should be introduced when it comes to maybe discouraging the consumption of statistics like alcohol, tobacco and many pieces where you didn’t produce it.
He said telecom services such as broadband have become a necessity and without them, nothing could be done in various sectors
Professor Pantami said that the theme for the expo “” Stimulating the Development of Indigenous Content through Innovations and Commercialization is in line with the purpose of the creation of Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) under the Nigerian Communications Commission,NCC, as a special purpose vehicle designed to stimulate the creation and development of top quality indigenous content in the telecommunication sector and directed the telecom industry regulator NCC to effectively monitor and ensure that Telecommunication products that could locally produced are not impoted into the country.
Professor Pantam noted that no nation can grow it’s economy if highly dependent on importation and attributed the increase in exchange rate and scarcity of forex to over dependence on importation.
Earlier in an opening remark, the Executive Vice Chairman of ncc professor Umar Danbata said the phenomenal growth in the telecommunications can only continue if policies to enhance the sector locally, in tune with global agenda of self-sufficiency is pursued with vigor and support of the Federal, State and Local Governments.
The Nigeria Office for Developing the Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) has in its 1 year of existence strived hard to engage with various stakeholders across the strata of MDA’s and the private sector in pursuit of promotion of indigenous content and one the evidence of these engagements is the NTICE 2022, which going forward will become an annual event.
The Chairman Association of Licensed Telecom Companies of Nigeria, ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo appealed to the NCC to ensure that electronic wastes are properly managed to generate income and harmonize the data of companies that are in one way or the other contributing to the growth of the telecom sector.
The creation of the NODITS on July 5, 2021 and its domiciliary in the NCC was sequel to the signing of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Telecommunication Sector by President Muhamadu Buhari in March, 2021.
The two day event was officially declared open by the Lagos State governor Sanwo-Olu,.