By G9ija

The of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has condemned the move by the Federal Government to introduce five per cent excise duty on telecommunications services in the country.

He spoke at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo in Lagos on Monday.

Pantami vowed to use every legal instrument available to fight the decision.

According to him, the decision did not go through wide consultation, adding that if the decision was allowed to stand, it would affect the sector negatively.

He said the sector, which was already attracting huge revenue, creating jobs and adding huge revenue to the GDP, should not be over burdened with such taxes.

He said: “The 5 per cent excise duty will over burden the industry.

“As a Minister, I was neither consulted nor received a memo to that effect.

“Even the relevant lawmakers that were supposed to be consulted have also told me they were not.

“Things are not done that way.

“Besides criticising the tax, we will take every legal measure to ensure the tax does not stand.”

Pantami also lamented the huge percentage of importation of ICT and telecoms equipment into the country, even when some of them could be obtained in the country.

He gave a marching order to all stakeholders: “Henceforth, the Federal Government will not tolerate importation of anything into the country when we have the capacity to produce it.

“The sector has to significantly reduce importation.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Office for the Promotion of Indigenous Content should enforce this policy.

“By 2025, we’ll be able to increase our indigenous content and reduce importation by about 20 per cent.”