Nigerians across board have condemned the introduction of 9 percent tax on various communication services, such as voice call, SMS, MMS, and Data usage from telecommunication service providers, internet service providers, and Pay TV Stations.
Recall, that the Minister of Communication, Bayo Shittu, had disclosed that the Federal Government in a bid to raise more money, had decided to introduce a bill called the Communication Service Tax, CST, bill which seeks to levy 9% on telecommunication subscribers, for users of various communication services.
The development which has not go down well with many Nigerians who are confronted with hunger, unemployment and cash crunch, has attracted wide criticism from both Buhari supporters and non supporters.
Among such is Rosemary Oyah, who said, “This is outright wickedness, we will endure and wait for Buhari in 2019, I will personally rally people around my neighbourhood if possible in my community to bring APC down”.
Tolu said, “APC! Changi dole! This change na to inflict maximum pains and suffering on the poor masses.
”The likes of jagaban are all selfish sadists. It is what one gets, when one leaves Goodluck to chose Badluck.
”Nigeria sorry ooi! Sai Baba! Changi dole! APC come 2019! hehehehe!” Tolu said ironically.
Gerald said, ”If this government likes, it can institute tax on breathing, so that we pay for the fresh air we breathe.
”As you strive to generate more revenue, it shouldn’t be to further impoverish the people you ought to make life better for.” Gerald noted.
Another Nigerian who commented anonymously said, “The masses will pay 9% as tax for calls, data and mms, while the President, Governors, Ministers, Government Officials, down to ward Counselors, would be making free calls, abi? This is the real change.
”Yes, we all deserve whatever we get from this government.
”Go ahead and do your worst. What of VAT, when will it become 10 or 20%?
Remmy Alex said, ”This is diversification of our government. To hammer the poor and grant tax holiday to croonies.”
Akanbi in his own submission, urged President Buhari to seek other alternative ways to generate revenue, noting that if such bill is passed into law, it may bring about double taxation, as phone companies would hike their charges, as a result of the cost they would incur in complying with the law and filing returns.
Chidi Obinna, said the government had indirectly chosen another way to revive the social media bill.
”The implication of this is that Nigerians will have to pay more for communications services, including data bundle to access social media.
“Should we pay more for these services, then there will be limit to how we visit these platforms, because of fear of exorbitant charges,” Obinna noted.
The Minister of Communication, who had made this known in a stakeholders meeting, organised by the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, had said: “My focus on any tax regime will be to align any process that will stimulate the economy, and also ensure that the tax system is efficient by widening the tax net.
“I have been reliably informed that the projected earnings from this effort is over N20 billion every month, which is an attraction to the government for funding our budget deficits,” Shittu said.
Mr.Taiwo Oyedele, Partner, PriceWaterCoopers, had in his reaction to the Minister’s statement, said the projection of N20 billion monthly revenue from the bill was unrealistic, and based on assumption.
According to him, increased taxation will reduce the consumption pattern of consumers, lower investment in the sector, thereby translating to reduced revenue.
Also, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, Mr. Teniola Olusola, lamented that already their members were overburdened with multiple taxation, urging on the Federal Government to discontinue the bill, adding that, it would reduce inflow of FDI into the sector, reduce subscribers level of data consumption, and affect contribution of the sector to GDP.