VAT in­crease, an anti-peo­ple pol­icy –TUC

The Punch - - BUSINESS & ECONOMY - Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja

The Trade Union Congress of Nige­ria on Tues­day de­scribed the hike in the Value Added Tax from five per cent to 7.5 per cent as an anti-peo­ple pol­icy put in place to de­lib­er­ately sti­fle busi­nesses in Nige­ria.

A state­ment signed by the union’s Pres­i­dent, Quadri Olal­eye, and the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Musalawal Ozigi, de­scribed mul­ti­ple tax­a­tion as the bane of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment any­where in the world.

It noted that while most coun­tries were re­duc­ing taxes to en­cour­age smallscale busi­nesses, Nige­ria was do­ing oth­er­wise.

The state­ment said, “We have heard about Nige­ria do­ing well in the World Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness In­dex, but the ex­pe­ri­ence in our coun­try does not cor­rob­o­rate that claim.

“Any law that helps the govern­ment to gen­er­ate more rev­enue at the ex­pense of the pub­lic for us is anti-peo­ple and in­ca­pable of grow­ing any econ­omy.”

It added, “Ac­cord­ing to re­ports by the Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics, the un­em­ploy­ment and un­der­em­ploy­ment rate is over 43.3 per cent.

“By im­pli­ca­tion, it means that most par­ents still feed their able-bod­ied youths even af­ter grad­u­a­tion from the ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion. It is in­deed pa­thetic that the Fed­eral Govern­ment ap­pears to be more in­ter­ested in col­lect­ing taxes than cre­at­ing an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for busi­nesses to thrive.

“Em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dences have shown that the poverty rate in the coun­try has in­creased abysmally. We see all th­ese moves as ploys to get back at the work­ers for ask­ing for a re­view of the na­tional min­i­mum wage.

“This con­tra­dicts the prom­ise of change the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion made to Nige­ri­ans at the build-up to the 2015 elec­tions.”

The TUC stated that the govern­ment could not cre­ate all the jobs, stress­ing that a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment should be pro­vided to fer­tilise the ef­forts by in­di­vid­u­als to set up busi­nesses.

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