Abuja – The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), has called for the speedy passage of the Communication Service Tax (CST) bill currently before the National Assembly.

NANS’s President, Tijani Shehu, who briefed newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the bill which is before the Senate, aimed to take a little from the rich and give to the poor.

The Nigerian Observer reports that the bill was sponsored in 2015 simultaneously with the Unemployed Youth, Elderly and Indigent Sustainability Allowances Trust Fund bill.

The bill, which has passed first reading in the Red Chamber, made provision that 70 per cent of CST should be paid into the Federation account.

The remaining 30 per cent would be paid into the Unemployed Youth, Elderly and Indigent Sustainability Allowances Trust Fund.

Shehu noted that trillions of naira had been lost as a result of under remittance from telecom companies since there is no statutory method of confirming the actual tax due to the government.

“Note that these trillions hitherto netted in other countries via automated tax collection system is completely absent in Nigeria and that is what CST is designed to legitimately introduce.

“The CST Bill provides for the Federal Government through its agents, to attach revenue assurance software and hardware at the billings systems of telecom companies as done world over.

“This interfacing software and hardware will report all billings activities real time to Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS), Treasury Single Account (TSA) and other relevant government agencies.

“Regulation of the telecommunication companies by NCC can be done real-time hence issues like unsolicited calls and text messages can be nipped in the bud,’’ he said.

The NANS president said that MTN, GLO and AIRTEL were already complying with the CST in Ghana and other African countries where they operate.

On the Unemployed Youth, Elderly and Indigent Sustainability Allowance Trust Fund bill, the student leader said it would be funded with 30 per cent of the total revenue accruing from the CST.

Shehu said that the bill was designed to provide massive employment for the youths while paying special attention to the needs of the elderly and indigent citizens.

“The bill will ensure that factories are built to create employment and provide goods and service for the nation.

“Factories and industries such as pharmaceutical industries will be built and run purposely for the provision of certain categories of drugs for the elderly and those who cannot afford proper healthcare.

“Federal Agricultural Territory (FAT) will be set up to chart a new agricultural road map for Nigeria.

“Federal Industrial Territory (FIT) will be set up to kick-start Nigeria’s first ever industrial revolution-all the above will be funded by the CST,’’ he said.

The NANS President said that those lobbying against the bill were working against the interest of the citizens.

He said that NANS was in support of the twin bills as they would give succour to students after graduation.

He appealed to the National Assembly to ensure speedy passage of the two bills .