Nigeria's communications minister says he knows nothing about 7.5% VAT deductions on SMS, data, and voice calls

Minister of Communications, Dr. Ali Isa Pantami [Twitter/@DrIsaPantami]
  • Nigeria's communications minister says 7.5% tax deductions on voice and data is beyond his office.
  • Dr. Isa Pantami, says Nigerians should direct their enquiries to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
  • Nigerians continue to slam government over deductions of new 7.5% VAT on telecommunication products

Nigeria's Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has said that he had no prior consultation or awareness about the inclusion of a 7.5 VAT charge on SMS, data, and voice calls.

The new Finance Act changed Nigeria's VAT rate from 5% to 7.5%, among other adjustments in the fiscal laws of the country.

With the new law, telecom operators also adjusted their rates on data, voice, and messages. The new telcos adjustment did not favour Nigerians and they cried out in a series of tweets captured here.

But the Minister in charge of communication services said the issues of tax matters is beyond his official duties and directed citizens to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

In a statement issued on Thursday, February 6th, 2020, by his spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman, the minister informed “the general public that the issues of VAT do not fall under the ministry’s purview.

“The office of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy is not mandated to handle VAT.

“All further enquiries and clarifications may henceforth be directed to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, being the proper institution for tax matters.

“In the same vein, we also wish to notify the general public that contrary to popular opinion in some quarters, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy had no prior consultation or awareness about the development."

As Nigerian continues to query the government on the application of 7.5% VAT on voice, data and SMS, analysts believed the new VAT rate will add more burden on Nigerian citizens.

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