VAT: Minister says can’t help with complaints about increased phone call charges

Minister of Communication, Dr Isa Pantami
Minister of Communication, Dr Isa Pantami

The minister of communication, Isa Pantami, on Thursday said his office cannot help Nigerians complaining about the newly introduced 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax that has caused increased phone and text charges.

In a statement issued by the minister, he said the communication ministry, which has a level of policy control on telecoms firms, is not mandated to handle tax issues.

He urged concerned Nigerians to approach the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) for more information.

Telecoms firms have already started implementing the new charges which has been criticised by many Nigerians.

The Finance Bill 2019 was presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last October alongside the 2020 Executive Budget Proposals and 2020 Appropriation Bill.

During the presentation, Mr Buhari had said the bill, when passed into law, will fulfil five strategic objectives, “in terms of achieving incremental, but necessary, changes to our fiscal laws.”

The major highlight of the bill was the 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.

The president gave his assent to the bill January this year to kick off a new tax regime in the country.


“The office of the Honourable minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, has been inundated with complaints and enquiries concerning the recent 7.5% VAT deductions on voice calls and text messages, by some Mobile Network Operators (MNOs),” the statement read in part.

According to Mr Pantami, ”the VAT issues do not fall under his ministry’s purview; therefore, he is not mandated to handle VAT.”

Mr Pantami directed the public to consult FIRS ”being the proper institution for tax matters”.

Many Nigerians have continued to complain over the increased VAT on calls and text messages.

Some Nigerians on Twitter said the increase is contrary to the government’s promise to reduce the economic plight of ordinary Nigerians who will now have to spend more on communication.

Coronavirus factsheet


PT Mag Campaign AD

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.