Senate cautions against communications tax

The Senate Committee on Communications, on Thursday, cautioned the Federal Government over the proposed Communications Service Tax Bill.

However, the Bill, which is before the National Assembly, the committee said, has the capacity to make life more difficult for majority of Nigerians.

The bill seeks to make provisions for certain compulsory payments from the communications consumers across the country.

Senator Gilbert Nnaji, Chairman of the committee, expressed apprehension over the Bill during the 2016 budget defence meeting with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).

He noted with concern the economic implications of the tax, particularly on the general welfare of low income earners in the country.

According to him, “There has been strident outcry by consumer rights groups and industry stakeholders against the Communications Service Tax Bill (CST) 2015, currently before the National Assembly.

“It is argued that the Bill will limit access to communication as it will affect the lower income consumers, forcing them to abandon or reduce subscription to certain services.

“This Committee is yet to be availed with the contents of this Bill, but it is important to state unequivocally here that as the elected representatives of the Nigerian people, while we recognise the current administration’s efforts to widen its revenue base, conscious efforts must be made to ensure that the socio-economic well-being of the citizenry remain sacrosanct.