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FG Should Tax Calls Above 3 Minutes—Emefiele

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has advised the Federal Government to consider collecting tax on every phone calls made from Nigeria that are above three minutes.

This, according to the apex bank chief, will boost the government’s revenue at this time it is looking for ways to generate more money to reflate the economy.

According to TheCable, Mr Emefiele gave this suggestion at the Annual Bankers’ Dinner held in Lagos recently.

The CBN Governor was quoted by the online news medium to have said, “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.”

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“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 three minutes,” he reportedly explained.

The reports further said Mr Emefiele also suggested that government should “consider introducing minimal property taxes across the country.”

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“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,” he reportedly explained.

“Another option to consider would be to fully implement the 2003 Cabotage Act. This is 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.

“Contrary to the requirement of this Act, there are several foreign-owned vessels providing shipping services locally. 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.

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“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,” he was quoted to have said at the event.

Nigeria has been in recession for months now mostly due to fall in the prices of crude oil in the market as well as sabotage activities of militants in the oil rich Niger Delta region of the country.

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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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