President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has indicated interest to introduce mobile phone call tax.
According to post-nigeria
Emefiele, who made this known at the 2016 Annual Bankers Dinner, organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, in Lagos, said such tax, targeted at the middle, upper class, and long phone call makers, can generate N100 billion annually, into the Federal Government coffers.
The Governor, speaking on the topic: “Policy options for reversing Nigeria’s economic downturn”, said the country’s economy is currently facing a classical case of “stagflation”, and although the 2016 budget is well on track to tackle it, there is need to boost revenue generation base, through increased taxes.
The development is coming at a time, when the All Progressive Congress-led, APC, Federal Government, had imposed tax on current account users, increased Value Added Tax, VAT, electricity tariff, and fuel pump price, across board.
Political watchdogs, have however, decried that despite the introduction of diverse means of taxing Nigerians, there has been no singular prove of what the Federal Government has done, in terms of project inauguration, and commissioning, despite spending over a year in office.
Meanwhile, Emefiele speaking further, suggested that government could explore opportunities for more revenues, to wriggle out of stagflation and recession, by introducing a negligible telecom surcharge to be paid by initiator of a telephone call.
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 among us, we could structure it to only take effect after the third minute of talk.
“Some analysis have indicated that the government could earn about N100 billion per annum, from this alone,” Emefiele stated.
He explained that stagflation occurs when a country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is falling, or stagnant, while unemployment, and inflation, are rising, all simultaneously.
”As recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates, Nigeria’s GDP growth decelerated by 0.36 percent, and 2.1 percent in the first and second quarters of 2016, respectively.
“More also, the rate of price inflation for the months of September and October, were 17.9 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively, while official statistics also indicate that the country’s unemployment rate increased to 12.1 percent, and 13.3 percent, during the first and second quarters,” the CBN Governor stated.
Other areas according to him that can also be explored, is the introduction of minimal property tax.
”This not only raises money for the government, but also could be a veritable weapon against corruption, since it creates a database of who really owns homes in this country. Another option to consider, would be to fully implement the 2003 Cabotage Act.
“This Act stipulates that all cargoes, and passengers in the inland and coastal waters, be transported by ships and ferries built, owned, crewed, and manned by Nigerians.
“Out of about 600 ships that operate within our waters, only about 60 of them are owned by Nigerians, and are mostly idle, in violation of the Act.
“Industry sources suggest Nigeria may be losing as much as N2 trillion annually, from this anomaly.
“In addition to raising revenue, a full implementation of the Act, could also spur job creation, capacity building, and significant backward integration”, Emefiele noted.