Nigerians express frustration over new VAT on phone calls, SMS

Some Nigerians have expressed their frustration over the new 7.5% VAT increase being implemented on phone calls and SMS, as they now have to pay value-added tax (VAT) every time they make phone calls or send a Short Message Service, SMS.

Many of them have expressed shock on Twitter while sharing screenshots of the notifications they received from their telecom service providers to the effect of the new VAT charges.

Twitter user – Akamadi Jeremiah Aleakhue, made a phone call that lasted for forty–six seconds and was charged N5.06 with VAT included.

Another user said he was charged N4.10 after sending an SMS which normally costs just N4. According to him, the 7.5% VAT will henceforth apply to every outgoing call and SMS. The same applies every time someone purchases a data plan. Now, the interesting thing is that the longer the call, the more VAT one pays.

While this is the law, most people still cannot seem to come to terms with it. And as you can expect, they are blaming President Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration proposed the 2019 finance bill that introduced the VAT increase.

President Buhari said there would be new finance bills to accompany every proposed national budget going forward. Nigeria is witnessing a revenue crisis due to declining crude oil earnings. As such, the government is trying to raise additional money by imposing more taxes.

Unfortunately, it is average Nigerians (who have very little earning power) that are mostly affected “negatively” by the 2019 Finance Act. As you can see in the tweet below, the situation has left some people feeling very frustrated.

Some people have even accused the government of indirectly taking back the new minimum wage which was recently increased to N33. 000. This is quite an accusation, although if you examine it closely, you may find yourself agreeing.