Why Nigeria wants taxes on phone calls, text messages, data – Minister

Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications
PHOTO: Techpoint
Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications PHOTO: Techpoint

Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communication, says a proposal by the Nigerian government to impose a 10 per cent tax on phone calls, text messages, data and more, would help enhance telecommunication services in the country.

The plan has been widely criticised.

But Mr. Shittu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Osogbo, Osun State, that the proposed tax would also help to improve telecommunication infrastructure.

“We have a lot of deficiency in the provision of infrastructure in the telecommunication sector.

“And I believe that those who proposed the bill must have thought that government centrally relies on tax because without tax, government cannot operate,” he said.

The minister said the ministry was proposing a workshop to sensitise the public on the new bill.

“We are proposing a workshop on the bill for all stakeholders in telecommunication services, operators and even ordinary man.

“I hope that at the appropriate time, when the figures are out, everybody will appreciate the need for such a tax in which at the end of the day will improve services and make everybody happy.

“Everybody is complaining every day over lack of quality and good services, drop calls and all of that.

“All these are caused by deficiency in infrastructure and Nigerians, I believe that we cannot shy away from what will provide government with resources to improve facilities,” Shittu said.

The minister promised that the government would continue to provide enabling environment for telecommunication operators in the country. (NAN)

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  • chuck

    Whao Nigeria. Tax everything including when one goes to the latrine. Yes tax the amount of stool.
    Where will people get the money for this new tax with the looming a large population of un-employed people.
    I want to advise the government to go easy on taxing everything. You are slowly turning the country into a hopeless place and you know what people do when there is the atmosphere of hopelessness.

  • Watch man

    Mr Minister, this move is anti-people, counter-productive and in no way geared towards alleviating people’s suffering. Go and think out more productive ways of generating revenue; this one will not fly.

  • Femi Ghadaf Ogunlesi

    Aaaah,this govt & it’s suffocation!They don’t even read & understand people’s mood.

  • Mayo

    No Minister. The government should not be the one providing the infrastructure for telecommunications. Government should provide oversight functions, policies and an enabling environment while private companies who are involved in providing telecommunication services will be responsible for providing their own infrastructure and then determine the best way to recoup their investments. For example in the US which we copy, the US govt does not lay telecommunication cables or fibreoptic network cables. It is the likes of Verizon that do stuff like that.

  • vagabonds in power

    The only thing the Yorubas knows how to do is to set up accounting firms that will help them collect tax for their pockets———————————–till date house lines are free in kuwait-an oil producing country–not in Nigeria of the Yorubas and Fulnis

  • LadyRosely

    Chanji don learn …. Nigerians weep for yourselves

  • B. Messi

    “14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

    16 When all Israel(Nigeria) saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

    “What share do we have in David(Buhari),
        what part in Jesse’s son(APC’s son)?
    To your tents, Israel(Nigeria)!
        Look after your own house, David(APC)”
    So the Israelites(Nigerians) went home.


  • Observer

    Total rubbish.. Mumu minister.. Leave the service like that, we go dey manage am, instead of working on how the call tarrif can go down you are planning to make it go up. What tha f**k?

    • Kallah Bature

      Minister remember it is change we voted for NOT increased hardship.Tell NCC to do a better job of supervising the Network providers and protect consumers from their excesses.The change of Chairman of the commission is yet to produce tangible results.The idea of increased taxes should be on the service providers who make unimaginable profit.

  • Abdullah Musa

    Which infrastructure are you providing to private phone operators, Mister Beard?
    Then what is the purpose of liberalisation?
    I buy recharge card, you tax me.
    The service provider earns profit you tax them.
    Now I send sums, you tax me also?
    Soon you would want to tax me if I hold phone in my hand.
    Are you not the one who watered down the MTN fine?
    Or you so love them that we are to pay the fine for them?

    • Ashibogu

      Una never see anything. The next in line is sex tax for husbands that sleep with their wives . Those who commit fornication will pay twice .

      • Abdullah Musa

        It looks like we will come to that.
        They will also ask u to buy speed limiter so you don’t cheat them.

        • George

          Musa return home and bomb your Buhari bingo before he destroy every things he met.

          • Abdullah Musa

            I don’t know how to bomb, that is Niger Deltan specialty.
            But I know how to vote in or out.

          • George

            Silly boy in Niger Deltan they only bomb illegal pipes not human being but your region you people even bomb tress for a fun.

  • FreeNigeria

    Cheiiii This na Govt of wickedness oooooooooo

  • Rominiyis

    Nigeria government now own MTN, Etislat etc or what is this man saying? The Nitel they own they killed it with corruption and mismanagement. Private investors from outside Nigeria came with their funds and now they are talking of infrastructure tax? What the government need is enforcement of standard which the private company should comply with. They want to wreck it again! Did they not fine MTN billions for unregistered sim cards? Left to government in Nigeria cellular phone would not worked at all.

  • Mo’

    What a gullible bairded mumu minister. A young thinking brain should be in that position, and not this old for nothing cargo that has no innovative mind. Be productive in thinking and not owo-ile like them landgrabbers.

    • Karl Imom

      You are the ONE not thinking, not reasoning, and not following the trend in digital technology. All phone calls are taxable transactions in all countries except Nigeria.

      • Soul_brother

        Moron! Finally you don get Gprs ba? Welcome to the world of the big boys little boy

        • Karl Imom


  • anonymous

    this people are criminals instead if them to fight for oil, food price reduction they are talking of tax on text message and phone calls

    • Karl Imom

      It is normal to pay tax on telephone calls. Nothing is new about it, United States, Canada, UK, and in fact, in all developed countries, you pay tax on each phone call you make.

      • tope fasua

        is there no vat on calls already? and does NCC not get something on every call and are awash with cash? what do we call what ncc gets for now? is that not tax? anyway, troll on. we know how far

        • Soul_brother

          Don’t mind these morons that will just come online to display ignorance proudly

        • George

          That is Yorubas for you pretenders and evil doers.

  • moe

    It is not even funny anymore. Aren’t telecom providers private businesses? Is it not thier responsibility to address any deficiencies they have in infrastructure? Why is government crying wolf where thier is none? The last time I checked telecos have been reaping profits in billions of naira! Why do they not plug some percentage of profit into upgrading the quality of thier service? On each recharge card is written “inclusive of vat” we are already paying tax on each recharge! The minister should be ashamed to even voice such a horrendous proposal before the public. Government should be looking at increasing the disposable income of the masses not reducing it!

    • George

      You Yorubas brought this calamities so bear it boy as your mama and sisters are sleeping around to feed.

  • thusspokez

    “I hope that at the appropriate time, when the figures are out, everybody will appreciate the need for such a tax in which at the end of the day will improve services and make everybody happy.

    How does one explain to these mumus that such tax on information will stifle economic recovery; increase the rate of inflation; make Nigerian business less competitive, etc.

    In advance countries, it is often mandatory for departments or ministries to conduct an impact studies under various scenarios to assess the potential risks and benefits of a policy. If this man’s ministry of communications had done one, he would have realised that the cost to the economy of an information tax far outweighs the benefits.

  • Oluwagbenga Ajibola

    They are gradually pushing us to the extreme. Mr. Minister you don’t want to set fire on the mountain, please.

    • Karl Imom

      Sales taxes are in order. In all major countries, taxes are imposed on services and consumer goods. I pay tax on every phone call I make in the united States. The more time you spend on the phone, the more tax you pay. MY only problem with Minister’s proposal is that, 10% is too high. Anything between 0.5% and 1% would be in order, knowing very well that you would be taxing people ,many times a day depending on how many times they make phone calls.

      • We are already paying tax on the funding of our mobile lines through recharge cards. Figure

      • Soul_brother

        So you feel we have been making phone calls free of charge? Please don’t annoy me

        • Karl Imom

          Yes. You are only paying for phone services. You are NOT paying Federal and State Use-taxes on those services. Cost of Recharge Cards are Not taxes. You are suppose to pay tax on the cost of your recharge card.

      • Epsilon_Delta

        Every recharge is inclusive of VAT, boldly written on the voucher! I don’t know where these “leaders” came from… I believe they are better at rearing cattle.

  • Jacky

    This Government is becoming extremely insensitive to our sufferings.

  • George

    Welcome to Duara Republic and the return of 1982.

    During last election I visited Nigeria some Yoruba fellows where shouting Sia baba I asked them to go back to their parents or their uncles if they don’t have parents again to find out the real meaning of Mohammedu Buhari that were president in 1982 to enable them make up their minds either to continue shouting Sai Baba or not but they refused.

    This is the same masses they promise every things from school feeding to free adults health care to unemployment 5k every months now every things are reversed not even foods are for the masses again.

    I’m happy yes yes but will it serve as a lesson to the Yoruba the Emirs worshipers, NO, why, because it never serve as lesson to Akintola, Awolowo, MKO until they went unceremoniously to their graves and it won’t serve as any lesson to Tinubu and the half dead OBJ and even the birds hunter son WOLE SOYINKA.

    • Tope

      Which tribe is now languishing in political wilderness? That bird hunter is the only Nobel winner we have ever produced. You are yet to produce one!!!!

      We Yorubas are proud of who we are, we will continue setting the pace for you and you will chase for a long time.

      • mbewalu ogodo

        That is if hunger hasn’t sent you to the great beyond by then.

      • dike desmond

        Tope note for the sack of your ignorance, that noble award was rejected by Chinua Achebe before was given to Soyinka

        • Tope

          You obviously don’t know the difference between Nobel Prize and the worthless Nigerian Commander of the Federal Republic Prize which Achebe rejected in 2004 and 2011.

          Stop disgracing the Igbo people with your stack illiteracy, Nobel Prize is the mother of all literary prizes, nobody has ever refused this Prize in the World.

          It’s worthless arguing with you since you have very little idea of what you are talking about.

          • dike desmond

            You just exhibited how low levelled you are, I can’t have an argument with someone that is not grounded in research. You will to read more my friend

          • Tope

            Show me where you got your bizarre information that Late Achebe rejected a Nobel Prize!!!!!
            I know you cannot differentiate between the Local National Award and World Nobel Prize, this is an assignment for you, go and read about these two and stop arguing blindly.

  • Dan Hausa

    Extortion ! This is extortion by it’s proper name. As if Nigerians have not suffered enough.

  • George

    Can someone provide us with Tinubu telephone number to hear from us as the president has been confirmed deaf so that he Tinubu can hear from us directly for him to pass the messages in signs to the evil man Buhari he helped brought to power.

    This is no longer a joke Tinubu telephone number plssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    • Tope

      Make no mistake, the Yorubas will not vote any party that will serve your interest. You know where you stand with the Northerners already? You are on your own until Jesus wakes up!

  • Rape_on_Niger_Delta

    1. Why should oil from Niger Delta first be made to flow through several thousand kilometers of pipelines before it gets to Lagos for export?
    2. Why can’t the export of oil be from the ports all around the area of drilling? The Niger Delta has rivers all around. Export ALL my oil directly from my Ports.
    3. My (Niger Delta) oil need not go to Dangote Refinery in Lagos….Why is he building the largest refinery in Africa in Lagos?…
    4. Will the that Dangote Refinery employ the Niger Deltans and Biafrans whose oil it would refine, before it employs the Yorubas and Hausas?
    5. Or will there be space for Niger Deltans and Biafrans after the Yorubas and Hausas are employed?

    Dear Niger Deltan’s,
    All our resources MUST be exported from our ports. It is safer and more cost effective. And in fact, there is too much risk and possible collateral damage when these pipes rupture and are never repaired especially when the pass through our farms and property. Besides, the Oluwole people of Lagos will not be able to illegally siphon our oil anymore and claim oil discovery in Lagos.! Say no to NNPC export pipelines on your property, except they lead to the sea port.


      i really share your thought this is what your people should negotiate for which should have been actualize during the reign of Jona but because of your people self centeredness they settle for cheap amnesty security of waterway and free stealing of crude oil eg Asari ateke and the likes am sorry for your people

    • Deji

      Because Lagos is civil and safe. Youths in Lagos have not made brigandage a career, the traditional ruler in Lagos do not harbour criminals and claim they are his innocent children. Pray that Nigeria diversification sails through that we no longer depends on oil and gets the oil we need from Lagos, Ondo and hopefully Chad Basin and see if any multinational or investor at all would remain in the criminal haven.

    • mbewalu ogodo

      Because you gave away your rights in 1967. You hedged your bet on the wrong horse. Deal with it.

  • DaVinci

    All the levies they collect from Telcos through NCC, have they given full account of the funds?
    Diversification of IGR sources does not give any excuse for double taxation.
    I they can focus on fixing the power supply then we would have less downtime from dependence on diesel to run Telco base stations and masts.

  • Truth Justice Equity

    No body should have expected anything different from kemi adeosun ,this islamic preacher and their hollow minded free education product handlers and sympathizers,yoros are landmark liars whose baptism of lying came from their progenitor called odu who bewitched his offsprings with a lie that he fell down from the sky.buhari refused to assign yoros to their familiar areas of specializations which are propaganda, information and lying ministries ,but rather out of pettiness assigned them to areas where their nature and education have no capacities to comprehend. That is the real reason why our nation have landed into high wired recession after one year of yoros looting of Nigeria.lies,gossip, falsehood peddling, laziness and blackmail can’t build an economy .so the only gift that yoros have can’t build Nigeria.

  • un spkn

    The Nigerian govt is in no position to demand taxes from the people. They have not done anything to warrant tax payment. When they do what they r supposed to do we will start paying taxes. You cannot ask hard-working people, who u tried to kill their destinies at all cost & contributed nothing to their success, to pay u (an incompetent, useless & hopeless govt) taxes. It is unheard of. They pay taxes in the UK because the minutes your child is born, he has free education, free health care and even access to a house at a certain age if he cant afford one. And these are quality modern services and infrastructure. The Nigerian Govt should plz not even try to conceive the idea of asking for any tax. When the govt starts performing its job as a govt the people will start performing their citizenry duties. Don’t even try it!!!

  • MOG

    God punish this bearded man and his clowns proposing this tax. Period.

    • GIO

      You do not need to curse, swear or be disrespectful, just say your view and offer a counter options. Let’s all be civil.

  • Wetin Naija

    Why is this minister and the government setting Nigeria backward. I was in Nigeria, Internet service is a joke, people are over charged to browse on their phones, even the internet on the computers are so slow and expensive. Is this the way to grow? Those of us abroad are doing our best to help move Nigeria forward, but the government is always looking to take advantage of the people.

    • Karl Imom

      How do you then improve those services if people do not pay Use -Tax? It is not government business to tell entrepreneurs what to charge customers for their services, but you have to pay Use Tax for the services provided. Blaming government for computer speed, internet speed, cost of services, etc is totally inordinate.

  • Suleiman

    Buhari will fix everything. This is really good news! When Israel asked for a king, God told told them he will take their farms, send their children to war, make their daughters widows and he will enslave them. You Nigerians asked for a king because GEJ came from a poor family, never knew what it meant to be king. You were unsatisfied with feeding good and asked for King Buhari. Now deal with it. He will soon seize your farms, many of your daughters are already widows and many are feeding from the waste bin. I see people by the waste dump by my house scavenging for throw away food every day. This is what you get when you refuse to use your brains. When some of us were warning, even the professors were shouting, “sai Buhari” When professors think like almajiri’s how else do you expect the almajiris to think? Good for you. I pray a bag of rice costs N50,000 naira so we can appreciate Buhari more! You asked for it, deal with it

  • GIO

    It’s a good idea if the government is sincere. No one will trust them to use the money collected for the right purpose. It’s like another avenue for the looters to enrich their pockets. This is not the right time to bring that up bearing in mind the economic situation in the country right now. Taxes are the least of our problems right now, the government should be thinking about inflating the economy in a non inflation way. They should be pumping money into the economy by starting massive constructions in every state of the nation to absolve lots of unemployed youths. This is what Bill Clinton did in the 90s to jump start the economy, it was also done during the Great Depression and watch what Hillary will do in this respect. They can borrow or print the money in whatever way, but it’s going to be beneficial on the long run.

  • Aremu Mathew Okikiolu

    Arrant nonesence. This minister is a huge joke. Charge for Internet? Has he ever tried to access the Internet since he became a minister? What did the government do with the GSM license fees? Nigeria has the highest Internet/GSM charges in the world. Does he know that power is a major hindrance to telecoms company? Let him go to Estonia, Internet is free and has acted as a veritable educational tool. Let him not waste any money on any bogus seminar to tax us, he should find ways to make sure we get a fast and reliable Internet and not think of exploiting the populace. Why display his analogue ignorance and display his digital creative sense in the millennium!

  • Suleiman

    Buhari will fix everything. This is really good news! When Israel asked for a king, God told told them he will take their farms, send their children to war, make their daughters widows and he will enslave them. You Nigerians asked for a king because GEJ came from a poor family, never knew what it meant to be king. You were unsatisfied with feeding good and asked for King Buhari. Now deal with it. He will soon seize your farms, many of your daughters are already widows and many are feeding from the waste bin. I see people by the waste dump by my house scavenging for throw away food every day. This is what you get when you refuse to use your brains. When some of us were warning, even the professors were shouting, “sai Buhari” When professors think like almajiri’s how else do you expect the almajiris to think? Good for you. I pray a bag of rice costs N50,000 naira so we can appreciate Buhari more! You asked for it, deal with it

    • Shawn

      The only king in the bible that is closely related to GEJ your Messiah is king Ahab the husband of Jezebel get that …

  • I also understand that universities charge students fixed fees for Internet that are not available. Internet is free in all universities and public libraries and in all corporations where I live.

    • Tope

      You are a typical example of an unrealistic person. Nigeria is not USA. The USA that you are talking about charges taxes on all your phone bills including all phone cards purchased, they charge you for making and receiving phone calls! What is wrong is paying taxes? All of us should pay taxes, and when our taxes are misused or looted, we should set the looters’ houses on fire instead of welcoming them into our society as heroes, thieves are not heroes!.

      • I gladly paid my taxes for the excellent services I received. I understood the internet were not even available in these universities for the students after hefty fees for the services.

        • Tope

          Services don’t just suddenly become excellent in one day. They started from somewhere and they grew from it. “Rome was not built in one day” is the message.

          • We’ve learnt that Nigerians pay flat rates (no meters) for electricity with or without services. What’s done in saner society is to provide quality and competitive services before levies. Not the other way. Collection of taxes and fees before services is corruption that we must decry.

          • Tope

            Yes, what’s wrong with paying retention fee for services. Don’t you pay water rate, Council rate, stamp duty for house purchase and home phone connection fee regardless of whether you use the service or not? You would not know all these since you only rent and never bought a house except the one in your village woop-woop.

          • I own 2 houses and pay property taxes. I am a CEO of 2 corporations. I receive services before fees. I paid taxes on all sercices that are provided. Not before. Nigerians shouldn’t pay for darkness.

          • Tope

            Bull Crap! Do you own two houses or you are buying two houses using bank loans with ONLY 5% EQUITY? What does your company produce? Anybody can register any company overseas as long as you pay the required fees and obtain tax number and you can call your the CEO of those companies, print a few cards and also have a website to deceive your fellow people who have never stepped out of the village. You can still continue working as a taxi driver and you need not produce anything.

          • Continue to delude yourself with your sordid attitude that continues to drag you and your society down. A society where you loot public money and live a false live of a big man. My creditworthiness and liquid cash will buy you and your entire village.

          • kamakazi

            Hahaha! and you just had to go there LoL…nice one.

  • dami

    Shittu is a lawyer and not an engineer or a digital communications expert…in fact this is his very first foray into communications….appointed so as to settle the boys…

    • Tope

      Why do you need an Engineer or a digital communication expert as a Minister of Communication? It’s better to a Professional who can see things from different perspective. Health Minister should not always be a Doctor. Stop whinging and learn to be productive.

      • dami

        Well so far he hasn’t made any right decisions…and from the decisions he has taken or intends to take (like this one to tax these services) he obviously doesn’t understand the industry.
        I would of preferred a Funke opeke or similar…Nigeria is not yet mature for these kind of people experiments…especially in critical areas like communications.
        The issue of multiple taxation he is not dealing with yet he wants to pile on more taxes, the issue of skilled personnel and national interest too he has to deal with (Globacom is full of Indians that just do skype all day…when Nigerians home and abroad that have better skills are at home unemployed)
        Deafening broad band and fiber connectivity is also an issue.
        So my friend Tope you stop whining (get your vocabulary/ spelling right) and think properly about the issues.

      • Vani Blues

        you are the one that should learn to be reasonable, in which planet do you make a 70 yr old man a minister of communication when he clearly have no experience in that field, going by your logic, engineers should employ sociologists cuz ” it gives a different perspective”


  • Green

    Good idea, super wrong timing.

  • Omotolaaraujo

    10% is robbery!

  • Devils Pen

    Idiots! Since they came into power they have virtually increased everything like fuel,electricity etc and have not added any value to the life of an average Nigerian. Na God go punish una

  • Lucky Enwenede

    This is what you experience when a government is clueless. Nigerian should be wise in making choice of who to lead them in the future.

  • Bimbola

    A bunch of criminal minded politicians looking for every opportunity to fleece the people, even in the most difficult situation this country has ever faced since the civil war. Shame on any person who proposed this bill. They have stolen all the money from oil. Now that nothing is left, they are using tax as an excuse to steal.

  • Allen

    I don’t understand this minister o, is he suggesting that government will collect tax to improve telecom facilities for private business telecom operators?

  • Victor

    What kind minister is this guy, is he so blind and deaf to the plight of the people that his only recommendation as a minister of state is to add to financial burden of the masses in d present situation.