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FIRS opposes additional taxes for Child Online Protection Bill, advocates appropriation funding

House Committee on Justice Holds Public Hearing on Child Online Access Protection Bill Amidst FIRS Concerns

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has raised objections against the imposition of extra taxes and levies to finance the Child’s Online Access Protection Bill, urging for funding through appropriation instead.

Speaking before the House Committee on Justice in Abuja on Tuesday, FIRS Chairman Mr. Zacch Adedeji, represented by Mr. Mathew Osanekwu, emphasized the need to avoid burdening business owners with additional taxation to support the bill’s implementation.

The bill, which encompasses issues of online violence against Nigerian children and related matters, is undergoing a public hearing, highlighting concerns over its funding mechanisms.

Adedeji emphasized that funding the bill through taxation would exacerbate the existing burden on taxpayers and suggested that appropriations should be explored instead.

While expressing full support for the bill’s intent, Adedeji stressed the importance of avoiding duplicative efforts across government agencies and recommended leveraging existing laws and mandates to address similar objectives.

Usman Kumoh (APC-Gombe), representing the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, underscored the imperative of safeguarding children’s rights in the digital age.

He emphasized collaborative efforts between parents and service providers to ensure children’s protection against online risks and exploitation.

Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Olumide Osoba, reiterated the bill’s objective of holding service providers accountable for protecting children online, emphasizing the importance of global best practices in child protection.

Representatives from the Ministry of Women Affairs and the Data Protection Agency, among others, also participated in the committee sitting, underscoring the broad stakeholder engagement surrounding the bill’s deliberations.

Meanwhile, concerns were raised by stakeholders, including the Nigeria Communication Commission and the National Human Rights Commission, regarding the proposed funding mechanism through taxation.

Emphasizing the need to balance child protection with economic considerations, stakeholders highlighted the importance of exploring alternative funding models to mitigate the burden on taxpayers and service providers.

As discussions continue, stakeholders remain committed to ensuring that the bill effectively safeguards children’s rights in the digital landscape while addressing concerns over its funding mechanisms.

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