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Proposed Voice Call Tax: Govt Isn’t Sensitive To The Plight Of The Citizenry – Marketing Experts

As the 8th National Assembly proposed communications tax bill to further increase national revenue, Marketing Communication experts have condemned the move, describing the bill as evidence that the federal government “is not sensitive to the plight of the people”.
Telecommunications subscribers in Nigeria may be facing tougher times in the months ahead if the proposed communications tax bill is passed to law. The bill, entitled ‘Communication Service Tax Bill (“CST” or the “Bill”) 2015’, seeks to enforce, charge and collect communication service tax (CST) on all electronic communication services at 9% which will be borne by subscribers.
Subscribers’ data released monthly by the telecoms industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the current industry’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) provided by the operators indicated that the Federal Government may be reaping over N20 billion monthly from Nigerian subscribers if the bill is enacted into law.
According to Public Relations practitioner and Managing Director of Absolute PR, Mr. Akonte Ekine, the present economic situation of the country is really biting hard on the people and that the government should seek other alternative ways to generate revenue said than imposing multi-taxation in the information and telecommunications industry.
“Every way the government wants to generate money is good but imposing multi-taxation on voice calls, data and SMS is quite unfair to the people. It indicates the government doesn’t care about her people. The government isn’t sensitive to our plight. People are struggling for electricity, good water, food, motorable roads and other basic amenities. The electricity tariff which was recently increased and now the proposed communications tax bill reviewed by the 8th National Assembly will only evoke more economic challenge on the people. Personally, I’m not happy with this”.
Executive Creative Director and Chief Executive Officer of Noah’s Ark, Mr. Lanre Adisa while lending its voice on the issue, pleaded to the Federal Government to look for ways of diversifying the economy by providing constant power supply and empowering the Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SMSEs) rather than further inflict hardship on the people through voice calls and pay TV tax.
“Really, there are so many things the government could do to generate more revenue as we all agree it’s time to diversify the economy. But the expectation of the people is to have basic facilities that will enable them to contribute to the growth of the country and also pay their taxes. The Federal Government can help fund SMEs which could help reduce unemployment, generate more money through taxation and also boast our GNP and GDP. The government should listen to the yearnings of the people”, he said.
The categories of communication services liable to the tax include voice calls, SMS, MMS, Data and Pay TV. For instance, Section 2 of the bill listed the chargeable services to include: voice calls, SMS, MMS, pay per view TV stations, data usage from telecommunication services providers and internet service providers.
While the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will be responsible for the collection of the tax and its payment together with any interest and penalty into the Federation Account, the Federal Government will be responsible for the administration and management of the funds.

The bill provided that all service providers is to file tax returns and pay the tax due not later than the last working day of the month immediately after the month to which the payment relates.

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