Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics has shown that the company income tax from businesses in the technology and communication industry increased by 158.51 percent from N51.05 billion in the third quarter of 2021 to N131.97 billion in the same period in 2022.
ICT contributed N317.05 billion to CIT in the first nine months of 2022, ranking among the largest contributors.
In Q3 2021, the government collected N810.19 billion as CIT, a 13.41% increase over N714.40 billion in the prior quarter.
The NBS report stated; “In terms of sectoral contributions, the top three largest shares in Q3 2022 were manufacturing with 28.76 per cent; information and communication with 27.31 per cent; and financial and insurance with 8.81 per cent.”
MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Networks Limited were two of the Federal Inland Revenue Service’s top-performing taxpayers in 2021, the agency said.
According to a statement made by MTN’s company secretary, Uto Ukpanah, “In 2021, MTN Nigeria’s total tax contribution to all government agencies including the FIRS amounted to N757.6bn while FIRS collected a total of N6.4trn tax revenue in the year.
“Specifically, MTN Nigeria paid a total of N618.7bn in direct and indirect taxes to the FIRS in the 2021 tax year, representing approximately 13.5 per cent of the total FIRS collection for the year.”
Experts in the field have said that the telecom business is one of the most heavily taxed sectors of the economy.
According to a recent analysis by SBM Intelligence titled “Taxing Nigeria’s Subnational Economies to Oblivion,” the sector was overtaxed as a result of its consistent expansion over the previous 20 years.
It said, “At the federal level, telecommunications companies are expected to pay taxes such as Companies Income Tax, the Capital Gains Tax, Withholding Taxes, Stamp Duty, National Industrial Training Fund, Employees Compensation Scheme, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, National Housing Fund contributions, Contributory Pension Schemes, and customs duties.
“These taxes are applicable to all incorporated companies in Nigeria. There are also sector-specific taxes and levies such as the Annual Operating Levy paid to the Nigerian Communications Commission by all holders of licences issued by the regulator, the National Cybersecurity Fund, the National Information Technology Development Fund Levy and Right of Way charges.”
Telecom companies reportedly pay roughly 41 taxes at the federal and state levels, according to Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami.
He said: , “The ICT sector is being overburdened with so many categories of tax. If care is not taken, this is going to jeopardise the achievements and gains we have recorded so far in the sector.”
The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Owners of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, added, “This is because of the 39 multiple taxes we already paying coupled with the epileptic power situation as we spend so much on diesel.”