Nigerians to pay more for phone calls as Buhari signs Bill: This is why

The federal government has enacted a new telecommunications tax to help finance the provision of health care services to Nigeria's most disadvantaged citizens.

Nigerians to pay more for phone calls as Buhari signs Bill: This is why
Nigerians to pay more for phone calls as Buhari signs Bill: This is why

This is stated in the National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2021, which President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law on May 19.

The Vulnerable Group Fund is funded by "telecommunications tax, not less than one kobo per second of GSM calls," according to section 26(1c) of the act.

Children under the age of five, pregnant women, the elderly, physically and intellectually challenged people, and the impoverished are all defined as vulnerable groups in the law.

It said that the money from the vulnerable group fund will be used to provide subsidies for vulnerable persons' health insurance coverage as established by the council, as well as to pay for indigent health insurance premiums.

As a result, the law provides several funding options to the authority, including a basic health care provision fund; a health insurance levy; a telecommunications tax of not less than one kobo per second of GSM calls; money that may be allocated to the Vulnerable Group Fund by the government; money that accrues to the Vulnerable Group Fund from investments made by the council; and grants, donations, gifts, and any other voluntary contributions made to the Vulnerable.

The National Health Insurance Authority Act also made it mandatory for all Nigerians to get health insurance.

Taiwo Oyedele, fiscal policy partner and Africa tax head at PwC, claimed the new telcommunications tax is comparable to a 9% tax on GSM calls because call rates are levied at 11 kobo per second, according to his Twitter account.

"Section 26 of the new law imposes a telecommunications fee on GSM calls of at least 1kobo per second." This corresponds to a 9% tax on GSM calls, with call prices about 11kobo per second," his tweet reads in part.

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