Telecom Experts Support FG Social Media Tax Plan

TECHDIGEST – Experts in the telecommunication industry have said the move by the Federal Government to tax social media companies is right because the companies generate commercial revenues from the nation.

According to Meta, 7.5 per cent value-added tax will be applied on sales of ads to advertisers from January 2022, and this applies to all non-resident businesses that provide digital service in the nation.

The company’s spokesperson said, “Starting in the New Year, Nigeria will implement a new value-added tax. This law requires all non-resident businesses that provide digital services to charge an additional 7.5 per cent in tax. This includes advertising services like those from Facebook.

“Facebook is required to charge VAT on the sale of ads to advertisers, regardless of whether you’re buying ads for business or personal purposes. All advertisers with a business in the country of Nigeria will be charged an additional 7.5 per cent VAT on advertising services purchased beginning 1 January 2022. As with all VAT, companies like Meta will be collecting this tax on behalf of the Nigerian government.”

The National Coordinator, Alliance for Affordable Internet, Olusola Teniola, noted that the move by the FG was aimed at increasing its revenue through taxes.

He said, “It is all under the auspices of the government trying to increase its revenue. There has been a debate even amongst the OECD countries, as to how they can achieve taxation of digital companies.

“And there has been an agreement that there should be an adopted taxation model. The issue here is that Africa is the weaker partner under the OECD countries. So, when the developed countries that form part of the OECD agreed to tax up to about 15 per cent of revenue generated from their countries, they didn’t consider revenues generated from African countries.

“So, each country is having to devise a method as to how it can estimate the amount of taxation due to them from the transactions made on these platforms. Recently, there has been an agreement that any transaction on these platforms will attract a levy.

”According to Teniola, Nigeria’s approach is very similar to that of Ghana.

He added, “I think Ghana is also placing a levy on not only social media transactions, but on many other such transactions.

“But for us as an industry, we need to find a way to engage the government on a way to cushion the effect on consumers.”

He said since the VAT would naturally be transferred to the consumer, a way to cushion this impact, especially as the increase in digital transactions would continue, had to be adopted too.

The President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo said, “One of the things the Federal Government has said to social media companies is how to tax them. Facebook is being used for adverts, commercially, which calls for some sort of taxes, which of course is one of the duties of this government: to widen the tax net.

“However, because we are using it for advertising, I think this move is only right. And we have been informed by the way. They’ve carried us along – which is one of our rights – that there would be tax and that they are negotiating with the owners of these social media companies. I think it is alright as the Federal Government would have more revenue.

“We need to wait and see how the tax would be implemented first before we criticise this move.”

Recently, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, hinted at the introduction of new tariffs and levies as the nation’s economy continues to recover in 2022.