SERAP says ‘NO’ to proposed FG’s tax on phone calls, data

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Sunday rejected the plan by the Federal Government to impose a 10 per cent tax on every phone call, text message and data used by Nigerians.

In an open letter by its Senior Staff counsel, Timothy Adewale to the Federal Government, it advised the FG drop the plan and instead start programmes that would cushion the effect of the sliding economy on Nigerians.

The group said the tax will only increase the sufferings of the poor, stating that they are the main victims of the current economic recession.

The letter read partly, “SERAP asks President Buhari to immediately drop the proposed 10 per cent tax on phone calls, text messages, data and more, as this would disproportionately affect the socially and economically vulnerable and push them deeper into poverty and deprivation.

“Increased poverty and the hunger that it brings will threaten the right to life and health of many socially and economically-vulnerable, including women and children. These groups of people are bearing the brunt and feeling the impacts of the economic crisis on their standards of living, their jobs and their homes.

“Your government has a binding obligation to ensure that all its policies to address the economic crisis are consistent with standards of human rights law.

“At the same time, the role of your government is to act as the guarantor of human rights of millions of impoverished Nigerians, including economic and social rights. Economic recession cannot be used as excuse for failing to fulfil these rights.

“We urge President Buhari to immediately provide economic stimulus packages that are focused on limiting the worst human consequences of the crisis, and give priority attention to the most vulnerable and marginalised in the distribution of resources.”

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