Telecoms Consumers

Telecoms consumers urge government, service providers to stop implementation of tax on phone calls, tariff hikes

*Consumer interest group appeals to the Federal Government and telecoms service providers to halt implementation of the proposed new taxes due to far-reaching effects of the move on Nigerian consumers’ well-being

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of the recent agitation over the proposed tax on phone calls in the Nigerian telecoms ecosystem, the Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS) has appealed to the Federal Government and telecoms providers (Telcos) not to implement their new taxes due to their ripple effects on the well-being of consumers.

Mr. Sina Bilesanmi, National President of ATCIS, who stated this Wednesday, May 25, 2022, in Lagos, noted that subscribers would be over-burdened with high cost of making telephone calls, if taxes are implemented in the economy, agency report said.

Mr. Sina Bilesanmi, National President of ATCIS

ConsumerConnect had reported that telecoms providers under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had announced the members planned 40 percent increment on services that included voice calls, SMS and data.

ALTON had complained that the 40 percent planned increments are informed by the increasing cost of doing business in the Nigerian economy.

Likewise, the Federal Government has imposed N90.5billion tax on telecoms providers under the Vulnerable Group Fund initiative supposedly to cater for 83 million Nigerians to access quality healthcare.

The government disclosed the N90.5 billion tax would be in the equivalent of a minimum of one Kobo per second for phone calls.

According to the government, the telecoms tax would enable it to fund the National Health Insurance Authority Act 2022 which President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law recently.

Nigerian consumers made 150.83 billion minutes of calls in 2020, which translated into 9.05 trillion seconds of calls, meaning the new tax will generate 9.05 trillion Kobo, which converted to N90.49 billion annually, the government projected.

However, Bilesanmi contended that both taxes should not be implemented for now because telecoms providers had not perfected their services to warrant such 40 percent increments for telecoms subscribers.

The ATCIS National President also said that the N90.5billion tax would lead to untold hardship on subscribers who had issues of drop calls, undelivered messages, among others, to settle with telecoms providers.

He further stated: “The tax by the Federal Government means that the telecoms will now increase tariff, a tariff the association is willing to prevent.

“We urge the Federal Government and telecoms providers to stop the unwanted increments as these will bring more burden on subscribers.”

Bilesanmi added: “If the telecoms operators must increase tariffs, subscribers must be involved in the process to ensure the vulnerable in the society are protected.”

Kindly Share This Story