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Some Nigerians have just realised that they now have to pay value-added tax (VAT) every time they make phone calls or send a Short Message Service, SMS. They think this is strange. 

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 fortysix seconds and was charged N5.06 with VAT included.  

Another user said s/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 

Standard chartered

[READ FURTHER: New tax regime to take effect from Jan 2 – FG)

Unfortunately, it is average Nigerians (who have very little earning power) that are mostly affected “negatively” by th2019 Finance Act. As you can see in the tweet below, the situation has left some people feeling very frustrated. 

Standard chartered


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. 

Emmanuel holds an MSc. in International Relations and a B.A in Philosophy & Logic, both from the University of Ibadan. He is a communications professional. As a Lead Business Analyst at Nairametrics, he focuses mostly on quoted companies, their products/services, and the economy in which they operate. Emmanuel is also experienced in the areas of corporate communication, brand communication, corporate storytelling, public relations, business research, management/strategy, etc. You may contact him via his email- emmanuel.abara@nairametrics.com.


  1. Someone should tell the telecoms service provider that 7.5% of N4=N0.3. So it should be N4.3(VAT INCL) NOT N4.10. I wonder why they always overcharge and nobody gets to complain. Also the banks have the habit of sending same SMS alerts three to give times charging this N4.10(Vat incl). These small overcharges multiplied by the number of affected subscribers turns into Millon’s if not billions daily for these service providers, which I can bet don’t get remitted to the appropriate authorities. Corruption per excellence.

  2. Comment:we have clearly seen the change mr. president,less than #100 per litre of fuel to #145 and now 7.5% VAT.But then, is this the change we were expecting?


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