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Nigerians weekend vented anger on Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor; Dr. Godwin Emefiele following his recent advice to the Federal Government to tax Nigerians for every call above three minutes.
Whereas Emefiele hinged the advice on the need to raise income for the government to cushion the effect of recession, many subscribers who spoke to our correspondents yesterday were disappointed on the advice, saying he has ran out of ideas of fighting recession as the apex bank chief.
According to the National President of National Association of telecoms Subscribers’ (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, the suggestion is not acceptable because subscribers have been over-taxed before now.
He said “NTACOMS will object to such tax and will do everything possible to make sure it failed on arrival”.
“No subscriber in Nigeria has a deep pocket to begin to pay tax on his credit because he has surpassed three minutes on call. The tax will put callers on their toes and will further frustrate discursion between family relations and businessmen and women.
He argued that Nigerians are never the cause of recession in the first instance and should not be used as sacrificial lamb in the process of fighting recession.
Another subscriber, Mrs. Rashidat Salau said “Taxing people because they made a call that exceeded three minutes is wickedness and we cannot accept it”.
“For me, I think the CBN Governor has truly run out of ideas on how best to solve the recession problem if he thinks that taxing Nigerians in making calls is the answer.
Some students in University of Lagos who spoke to Business Hilights said the idea is an inversion of people’s privacy and it will make nonsense of calmness in making calls.
The CBN chief dropped the bomb weekend while speaking at the Annual Bankers’ Dinner in Lagos, saying the government could raise about N100billion as additional revenue by introducing the charge.
He said “There are several ways we can raise additional revenue to finance the increased expenditure that is needed to engender fast and sustainable growth in the economy.”
“I think we can consider introducing a negligible telecom surcharge to be entirely borne by the initiator of a call. In order to protect the poor and vulnerable amongst us, we could structure it to only take effect after the third minute of talk.
“Some analyses have indicated that the government could earn about N100 billion per annum from this alone. Obviously this surcharge will mainly be borne by middle and upper class people since I do not know many poor people who make calls for more than 3 minutes!”
Investigations show that such tax is rare across the world for now.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo receives made in Aba shoes from Gov. Ikpeazu of Abia State.