​ActionAid condemns planned tax on phone calls, text messages, data

Text message phone
FILE PHOTO

ActionAid Nigeria on Tuesday frowned at the proposed Communication Service Tax (CST) bill and urged the federal government to reject the bill.

The group, which is the Nigerian arm of the global movement of people working together to promote human rights and defeat poverty, said imposition of the new tax would worsen the poverty situation of consumers.

​The ​country ​d​irector of the ​organisation, Ojobo Atuluku, expressed displeasure over the draft bill aimed at imposing up to ​nine​ per cent ​tax​ on all phone calls, short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), data packages, and pay television services.

“This is not acceptable,” Mrs. Atuluku said. “It will put a huge burden on poor people who are already paying a very high price from multiple taxes.​”

She said the federal government needed to focus on luxury and property tax, as more progressive nations were doing, to generate revenue for their countries.

Mrs. Atuluku said if the bill was passed into law, “it would be additional burden on the poor who are already bearing the burden of the misrule of the Nigerian political and business class”.

She said the move amounts to ​”​punishing the poor for the sins of the rich​”.​

She said the recent argument to deploy proceeds from the tax to investments on infrastructural development was untenable.

“Why must the poor, who will be the most affected, be the ones paying for infrastructural deficits brought about by the recklessness of the rich political class and their collaborators in the business class?” Mrs. Atuluku asked.

ActionAid Nigeria has also called on all communication companies to accept their responsibilities and pay their fair share of taxes.

She said any attempt for the telecom operators to pass their tax responsibilities to Nigerian consumers would not be accepted.

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  • Opekete

    Whoever is or are the economic advisers of the president are not doing him any good. We are now going back to the era of David Mark who said telephone is not for the poor. The availability of mobile communication has removed the burden of road travel from the lives of the people. Government should endeavor to remove the burden of economic pain from the poor and look at the rich and corporate individuals to help lift off the pain of economic problems facing the nation at this time.

  • True Nigerian

    Buhari is firmly rooted in the Jonathanian way. Ultimately, he will fail, and woefully too! Sad, really sad.

    • Pete

      A comment like yours only serves to rationalise to you your grave mistake in supporting Buhari over Jonathan.
      Save for APC propaganda that bought over gullible people like you, given the peculiarities of our corrupt and tribalistic countrymen, Jonathan remains the best President Nigeria has had in recent times.
      All the indicators are there for rational minds to see. APC lies are expiring faster than they ever thought.

  • donMe$$i

    APC has come to Steal, to Kill & to Destroy.

  • chnwk

    My anger is that these guys can’t readjust their salaries and spending to suit the economy, instead they want to tax it out of the masses…I think it’s time we recognize that this issue is no more about tribe, it is corruption and inhumane treatment by our leaders.. Everyday, this president is looking for new ways to milk money out of the poor masses but still maintains his fleets of presidential jets and bogus allowance

  • Folahan

    I believe it is high time for Nigerians to start doing research before you talk. Countries such as the US, Uk, Eu, and other african countries such as kenya, ethopia etc do have such taxes. We want our society to be like theirs but dont want to pay taxes or anything. besides 9 percent tax is like N2 of N20 naira per minute call rate. Besides it is the rich that would feel the pain as it is those that can afford to talk for hours that would pay more. Also now that there is whatsapp call which government wont be able to tax then those that cant pay normal call rates can then use whatspp to call. please lets be logical and practical for once. EU just asked Apple to pay $13bn of back taxes.

  • adekunle akindude

    We want Nigeria to start acting like these other countries before you start imposing taxes on the poor who are not getting paid salaries and not getting the services of electricity,medical and good roads

    • Folahan

      It doesnt happen that way my brother. The reason why governments over there are very careful of what they do is due to the fact that the people pay a lot of high taxes. When people know that the are being taxed and not getting services paid for then the people will protest and may even burn down national assembly, but when you dont pay or not contributing most Nigerians dont care what government does with the moneys earned and leave their fate to God. E.g. Denmark is known to be one of the best countries in the world and they pay an average of 40% for everything earned with high bills, but they have very good social services

      • Saz

        Dear Folahan,

        While one can appreciate your angle of discussion, kindly note that good leadership should always be by example.
        I for one do not begrudge tax payment IF the funds are channeled properly. However, recall that members of the two Houses – Rep and Senate still enjoy being the highest paid democrats as reported severally by the media, you see them still living their lives with no apologies. They i.e someone like Dino Melaye flaunt cars, shoes, wrist watches, luxurious vacations on social media. When you read reports of tax waivers for certain cluster of politicians.

        First, all persons or people one way or the other implicated in fraudulent and corrupt practices should be brought to justice dealt with swiftly in order to produce a fair and just environment.

        Secondly, the Govt should work very hard at winning the people’s confidence, carry the people along in ideas that would benefit all then gradually introduce programmes in stages. Do not forgot the Electricity tariff, petroleum products (essential for daily living) were just upped. Meanwhile purchasing power has not increased.

        Any attempt to introduce more taxation on an already heavily taxed environment ( where nothing seem to work) is a courtship with unrest, disaster and further rebellion.

        Let the already paid taxes be put to use in providing social amenities for the people paying the taxes and not salaries and allowances payments for a few hundred from a nation on millions living below poverty line. Dear Folahan,
        While one can appreciate your angle of discussion, kindly note that good leadership should always be by example. I for one do not begrudge tax payment IF the funds are channeled properly. However, recall that members of the two Houses – Rep and Senate still enjoy being the highest paid democrats as reported severally by the media, you see them still living their lives with no apologies. They i.e someone like Dino Melaye flaunt cars, shoes, wrist watches, luxurious vacations on social media. When you read reports of tax waivers for certain cluster of politicians. First, all persons or people one way or the other implicated in fraudulent and corrupt practices should be brought to justice dealt with swiftly in order to produce a fair and just environment. Secondly, the Govt should work very hard at winning the people’s confidence, carry the people along in ideas that would benefit all then gradually introduce programmes in stages. Do not forgot the Electricity tariff, petroleum products (essential for daily living) were just upped. Meanwhile purchasing power has not increased. Any attempt to introduce more taxation on an already heavily taxed environment ( where nothing seem to work) is a courtship with unrest, disaster and further rebellion. Let the already paid taxes be put to use in providing social amenities for the people paying the taxes and not salaries and allowances payments for a few hundred from a nation on millions living below poverty line.

        • Folahan

          I agree with you that funds should be used properly and that good leadership is essential in all, but i have to say that you are wrong when it comes to the issue of being heavily taxed. The problem with Nigeria is that we have never been taxed and most people are not even used to the concept or like it or even pay any tax. Overseas everything is taxed and their taxes are even higher e.g. VAT in Euro is about 20% against 5% here same with UK. There are other taxes such as car use, taxes on houses, fuel consumption even community tax apart from state tax and etc.

          Besides in country where all the money earned is used to pay an over bloated Civil Service that are extremely unproductive and lazy. The labour leaders always claim minimum wage of 18k but in truth directors in civil service collect over 350k in salary monthly which is different from allowance earned that are paid in addition to the salary. Every Agency of government pay different rates on allowance e.g. NNPC, PTDF, CBN pay well over N3 milllion in allowances per annum to basic grade level 8 civil servants (Fresh graduates) which is seperate from their basic monthly salary.

          I agree that people like Dino melaye should be taxed but it is due to the fact that he hasnt been taxed properly or proper tax laws havent been put in place that gives him the courage to flaunt his wealth. In societies that taxes are properly paid, the rich find ways of hiding their wealth as not to be taxed extra. I believe FIRS should investigate the amount of taxes paid by all these individuals as against the amount of wealth they claim to have as the IRS in US does and make them pay heavy fines for any taxes omitted.

          • blueeyedkitten

            great argunents from you guys. i think we shouldnt rush the tax regime as i’d cause alot sufferings to nigerians. you know we arent used to all this taxes, introducing them one after the other is fine.
            and in truth, our authorities need to start justifying the little we’re paying at the moment before thinking of increasing our tax burdens. i pay alot of tax form my income, and believe me i havent benefitted anything at all from the govt. i’d naturally protest paying more.
            and please how did you know that fresh graduates working in NNPC CBN and co. are been paid over N3M as allowances per annum? are you sure of what you’re saying?

          • Folahan

            I am pretty sure of what i am saying, such allownaces are collected under different titles such housing allowance and etc If you know anybody in NNPC or CBN ask them to give you details of all monies they collect in a year

          • blueeyedkitten

            it sounds more like upfronts…. which should be paid back i think.

  • Ashibogu

    The one that really pains me is the proposed tax on toilet paper. I mean tax on toilet paper, these people are very mean!

  • thusspokez

    “This is not acceptable,” Mrs. Atuluku said. “It will put a huge burden on poor people who are already paying a very high price from multiple taxes.​”

    Not just poor people but businesses. This is madness: Many countries across the world try every year to bring down their cost of information, knowing that it benefits economic growth. These ‘mumu’ Nigerians are going the opposite direction especially at a time they desperately need to stimulate the economic growth in the county.

    Increasing the cost of phone calls, SMS, MMS etc., will increase business cost by 10-50%.This will be passed on to their customer; some business will be forced to shot down because they wouldn’t be able to compete successfully — bare in mind that we live in an Information world without boundaries. Nigeria’s loss is other countries’ gains. The aforementioned bill will be suicidal for the Nigerian economy.

  • Ashibogu

    Just yesterday, one VVIP of the current Administration with her teenage daughter sat in First Class on British Airways Flight 083 from ABUJA to LONDON’S Heathrow Airport. Yet, someone is telling me to pay tax for my calls. These people are not serious! They preach change while they live in obscene luxury. Nigerians, make una shine una eyes! Our MUMU don do!

  • blueeyedkitten

    by the way, is this news even true? so many lies had been told about this government. i’d rather wait and hear from the horse’s mouth.