Uproar on VAT as Minister of Communication blames FIRS with complaints of increase in phone call charges
The Minister of Communication, Isa Pantami has told Nigerians to approach the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) with complaints of increased phone and text charges which was implemented by telecommunication companies after the newly introduced 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax.
According to Pantami, the ministry he heads is not is not mandated to handle tax issues and so cannot intervene in the issue.
The statement issued by his media aide, Mrs. Uwa Suleiman reads in part;
“The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) has been inundated with complaints and enquiries concerning the recent 7.5 percent VAT deductions on voice calls and text messages by some Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).“While we appreciate the support and efforts of well-meaning Nigerians who have sought clarifications in a civil manner, we wish to inform the general public that the issues of VAT, do not fall under the ministry’s purview.“The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy is not mandated to handle VAT.“In the same vein, we also wish to notify the general public that contrary to popular opinion in some quarters, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy had no prior consultation or awareness about the development. All further enquiries and clarifications may henceforth be directed to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), being the proper institution for tax matters.”
Recall that while signing the Finance Bill 2019 which was a review of VAT rate from 5 to 7.5 per cent, the reform of domestic tax laws to align with global best practices (such as taxes of digital business and e-commerce) and introduction of tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets into law, President Buhari said it will fulfill five strategic objectives “in terms of achieving incremental, but necessary, changes to our fiscal laws.”
Some Nigerians have however taken to social media to cry out over the increased phone call and text charges since implementation of the bill took off;