No harm in introducing communication tax – FIRS chairman

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– Babatunde Fowler said Nigerians talk more than required on phone

– The FIRS chairman said there is nothing wrong in introducing a communication tax

– Fowler said this tax can go into improving education like in Ghana

Babatunde Fowler who is the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has said that there is nothing wrong in introducing a communication tax.

NEWS FLAKES NG reports that Fowler said this on the side-line of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group conference in Transcorp Hilton in Abuja on Monday, October 7.

The FIRS chairman reportedly said Nigerians talk a lot on phone and that there is nothing wrong in paying a little to the government.

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He said: “I will put it this way, Nigerians talk a lot on the phone; they even talk more than is required so for them to have capacity or revenue to talk that much, I don’t see any harm in paying a little bit more to government.

“We compare ourselves to developing countries but Ghana introduced a 2% education tax and used it to fund their universities and that is why Nigerians are now going to university in Ghana. They didn’t look for aid, they did it by themselves.”

Fowler also explained plans to introduce VAT on online transaction. He said: “All we are saying is that those who use online facilities, we will give instructions to the banks that once they make the payment, they will just charge 5% VAT and remit it as an agent to FIRS.

“By the VAT Act, the minister has the right to change the rate but this government, I believe wants to carry every stakeholder along including those in the house and explain to them that this increase is for the benefit of all Nigerians.

And it will only apply to what I call privileged items like buying a car or lunch in an expensive restaurant. The money will help the state look after the needy among us.”

Meanwhile, there are indications that the Senate may reject the federal government’s proposal to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5% to 7.5% as earlier announced by the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmad. This is as lawmakers during plenary on Wednesday, October 2, suggested an alternation to the VAT increase which they have referred to as being oppressive to Nigerians, Nigerian Tribune reports.

Instead of the federal government’s planned increment on VAT, most lawmakers are seeking a bill for an act to establish the communication service tax spearheaded by Ali Ndume, the Senate leader.

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