IT group has condemned the Communications Service Tax (CST) before the National Assembly, saying that the bill hinged on 9 per cent tax on all electronic services would impoverish Nigerian youths.
Executive Director, Operations at DigitalSENSE Africa Media, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke said at the Day-1 of the Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum series on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) at the Digital Bridge Institute, Cappa, Lagos that she condemned in totality the motion before the National Assembly.
She also lamented that the 9 per cent tax on all electronic services will further impoverish the teeming unemployed Nigerian youths.
“Thereby, making it more difficult for people to access and share knowledge which the electronic communication is made to abridge,” she said.
Nigerians, Mrs. Nweke pointed out, are already paying for all the mismanagement of their leaders, wondering why make them pay more especially in the present economic downturn.
Further, she joined forces with other stakeholders in calling on the Federal government to make Telecoms Infrastructure a Critical National Resource as this would also mean protecting the jobs and businesses online because when telecoms infrastructures are tampered with, “our Jobs and businesses online are affected.”
Recalled that Telecommunication service subscribers are to pay additional tax as soon as a new Bill now being introduced by the National Assembly is enacted into law. The Bill, titled ‘Communication Service Tax Bill (“CST” or the “Bill”) 2015’, seeks to impose, charge and collect Communication Service Tax (CST) and will be levied on service fees payable by users of electronic communication services at 9% and will be borne by the customers. The rate of the CST, which is proposed at 9 per cent of the service charge for the use of communication service charged by service providers, is seen by fiscal experts as amongst other taxes being imposed by government to shore up its revenue base as the whirlwinds in the international oil market continue its depreciative impact on accruable earnings by the country from crude oil exports.
According to a ‘Tax Alert’ publication by PricewaterHouseCoopers, PwC, Nigeria, if the Bill is enacted into law, it will mandate service providers to file monthly tax returns with the FIRS with strict penalties for non-compliance. 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.