In a significant move applauded by the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), President Bola Tinubu announced the suspension of the 5% excise duty on telecom services on Thursday. ALTON Chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, expressed his appreciation for the decision, highlighting the relief it brings to both telecom operators and subscribers.
Adebayo emphasized that the tax suspension would alleviate the burden on telecom operators and spare subscribers from additional financial strain. He noted that the imposition of the tax would have compounded the difficulties faced by many Nigerians, who are already grappling with rising prices of various goods and services.
However, Adebayo drew attention to the larger issue at hand, revealing that Nigerian telecom operators are currently subject to a staggering total of 39 taxes and levies. He urged the Tinubu administration to address this concern promptly.
“We believe that the government has taken a positive step by relieving us of this burden. However, we must acknowledge that the previous administration had already exempted telecom services from the 5% excise duty,” Adebayo stated.
According to Adebayo, the next crucial step for the government is to tackle the problem of multiple taxation imposed on telecom operators by different levels of government nationwide. He stressed that the industry’s present predicament, with its excessive tax burden, hampers proper regulation and policy planning.
“We urge the government to prioritize resolving the issue of multiple taxation in the telecom industry. Currently, we are subjected to 39 different taxes and levies across the country. No industry can sustain such demands from various levels of government. It is unsustainable and detrimental to our regulatory and policy environment,” Adebayo asserted.
He further emphasized that the telecom industry should not be treated as an extractive sector like oil, gas, or mineral exploration. Instead, it should be recognized as an industry providing crucial social services that impact the economy and the lives of the people. Adebayo urged the government to address tax concerns to ensure the industry’s health and overall benefit to subscribers.