By Merit Ibe, [email protected]
Manufacturers and members of the Organized Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) urged the Federal Government to save more taxes for businesses.
Private sector operators have denounced the imposition of new taxes on businesses and offered to widen the tax net, citing concerns of increased strain in a struggling business environment.
They noted that any increase in taxation, in whatever form or appearance, would be counter-productive and could retard manufacturing sector contributions to GDP and cause a significant setback on the ability of the real sector to support poverty reduction/mitigation aspirations. poverty and job creation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said the country’s manufacturers were groaning under the multiple taxations of the three levels of government.
He argued that manufacturing companies have yet to fully stabilize in the face of the debilitating disruptive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that so-called government relief funds have remained largely inaccessible to manufacturers. MAN Director General Segun Ajayi-Kadir explained that there is a need to streamline the observed multiplicity of taxes and ensure that only approved taxes/levies/fees are charged by these government agencies.
Furthermore, the Managing Director of MAN added that the government should start considering reducing the various tax rates that have been the world order lately to encourage investment.
He explained that the majority of businesses agree that multiple/over-regulation by government agencies reduces productivity.
In particular, he said the government must urgently heed the clarion call of the organized private sector by streamlining agencies now to restore public confidence in the ease of doing business in the country.
The Founder/Chief Executive of the Center for the Advancement of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr. Muda Yusuf, said Nigerian manufacturing companies, and indeed most investors, are currently going through tremendous stress. Yusuf agreed that new taxes are frequently added to the myriad of taxes on the already overburdened private sector.
He said the private sector has increasingly become the target of regulatory agencies seeking to raise revenue for the public deficit, which continues to weigh on the competitiveness of the private sector.
“The constant imposition of royalties and the approval of licenses weighs heavily on the private sector. There should be a distinction between regulatory agencies and revenue generating agencies.
President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole advised the Federal Government to focus its attention on other areas to raise funds rather than burdening the private sector with taxes additional. “The federal government should look at other areas of fundraising to implement the budget and, of course, taxation is an obligation for everyone, but at the same time we must not put too much pressure on the private sector in the area of revenue collection. We ask the federal government to widen the tax net rather than put pressure on very docile taxpayers.
NACCIMA Chairman John Udeagbala suggested an increased tax base rather than raising taxes and mobilizing investment through public-private partnerships in exchange for tax credits spread over time, noting that it is now generally accepted that current levels of debt service payments are dramatically high and unsustainable given declining government revenues.