Nigerian govt introduces new tax on telephone calls

Muhammadu Buhari

The Nigerian Government has placed a new tax on phone calls in the country to fund free healthcare for the vulnerable.

The telecom tax is put at a minimum of one kobo per second.

President Muhammadu Buhari brought the tax into law following the signing of the National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2021 last week.

The act includes a provision under Section 26 subsection 1c which states that the source of money for the vulnerable group fund includes telecommunications tax, not less than one kobo per second of GSM calls.

This is coming at a time telecommunication companies want an increase in price of their services over rise in the price of running business in Nigeria.

Speaking on the development, fiscal policy partner and Africa tax leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Taiwo Oyedele, was quoted by PUNCH as saying, “With call rates at about 11kobo per second, this translates to a nine per cent tax on GSM calls.”

The vulnerable, according to the provision of the law, includes children under five, pregnant women, the aged, physically, mentally challenged among others.

According to the Act, the vulnerable group fund is money budgeted to pay for healthcare services for vulnerable Nigerians who cannot pay for health insurance in a bid to subsidise the cost of provision of health care services to vulnerable people in the country.

The Act states that every resident in Nigeria is expected to obtain health insurance.