Telecommunications operators in the country under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria on Tuesday raised a voice of opposition to a bill in the National Assembly seeking to introduce a new communications tax of nine per cent.
The operators which included major mobile operators and infrastructure providers in a meeting with the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, said such tax would be passed on to subscribers who are already bearing a burden of five per cent Value Added Tax on telecommunications services.
Also, the operators who spoke through ALTON Chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said another bill intended to reduce the high incidence of unsolicited calls and text messages was unnecessary as it would be at variance with other existing laws including the Nigeria Communications Act 2003.
Adebayo said, “A bill for an Act for the introduction of a nine per cent communications service tax for the imposition, charging and collection of same on communication services is under review at the National Assembly.
“If the bill is passed into law, there shall be an additional tax to end users who currently pay a five per cent as VAT and bringing the total tax on communications users to 14 per cent. This is of further concern, as additional taxes on telecommunications services will adversely impact on the affordability of broadband services.
“Such a tax will also further increase the digital divide with resultant impact on our national broadband objectives. We are very concerned and we have expressed same to all stakeholders to discourage the passage of this bill.”
On the bill to reduce unsolicited text messages and calls, Adebayo said, “The rationale for the bill is that a reduction in unsolicited calls and text messages, if achieved, would bring consumers reprieve and reduce consumer complaints in this regard.