From Uche Usim, Abuja
There seems to be no escaping payment of higher charges on calls by mobile phone subscribers as the Federal Government has approved the payment of 5per cent excise duty on telephone top-up cards and vouchers.
The charge is part of new items on the list of goods liable for excise duty on the country’s Finance Act. Excise duty is a levy charged at the time of manufacturing. It is also a form of indirect tax on the sale or consumption of certain goods, products, services or activities such as tobacco, alcohol, narcotics, gambling among others mainly to discourage their use and consumption. Nigeria’s Finance Act has extended the list to include beverages and non-alcoholic drinks.
According to a circular, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, has directed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to create a tariff line for the collection of excise duty on mobile telephones, electricity meters (components) and set up boxes at 5 per cent.
The government is expected to raise at least N150 billion from the duty out of which the Customs will receive about N10 billion, as 7 per cent collection fee.
The circular conforms with another list of excisable items by customs to include telephone recharge cards and vouchers at 5 per cent.
The collection was part of new items on the 2020 Finance Act signed by President Buhari. Although no rate was stated, it is clear that the president might have okayed the collection of the duty at 5 per cent as approved by the Act.
Section 21 (1) of the Act describes goods liable to excise duty as “Goods imported and those manufactured in Nigeria and specified in the first schedule of this Act shall be charged with duties of excise at the rate specified under the duty column in the Schedule.