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NIGERIA

NLC rejects 6 percent stamp duty on rent, leases

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Federal Government to cancel the six percent tenancy and lease stamp duty recently announced by the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President said this on Saturday in Abuja.

Wabba said that the Congress was dismayed by the new policy stipulating a six percent stamp duty for every tenancy and lease agreement in Nigeria.

He said that the Congress condemned the agreement as the new policy came at a time when the socio-economic pressure arising from COVID-19 dislocations was affecting many of Nigerians.

According to him, the NLC rejects this new stamp duty policy on rents and leases as it will worsen the situation faced by Nigerian workers most of whom, unfortunately, are tenants.

“It is also alarming that we are having a hike in taxes and user access fees when other countries are offering palliatives to their citizens.

“We call on the Federal Government and the Federal Inland Revenue Service to rescind this harsh fiscal measure as it is boldly insensitive to the material condition of Nigerians which has been compounded by the Covid-19.

“Nobody would want to be a tenant if they had an alternative. This means that tenants which these new policy targets are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“It would be illogical, insensitive and inhuman to churn out laws that make our poor go to bed at night with tears in their eyes,” he said.

Wabba noted that the principle of public taxation especially progressive taxation all over the world was that the rich subsidies for the poor and that every tax policy that would be enforceable must create a safety net for the poor.

“Accommodation is a fundamental right guaranteed by Nigeria’s constitution. It is unimaginable that tenants who are in the most vulnerable group would be expected to pay 6 percent tax for accommodation when sales tax is 1.5 percent.

“This is indeed a great injustice against the Nigerian poor. The government must take deliberate steps to avoid institutionalizing the widespread belief that it is a crime to be poor in Nigeria.

“We understand that the government needs money to run the business of governance especially at this time of economic challenges all over the world.

“But the answer is not in further exploiting the already exploited. There is no doubt that there are other painless ways of mobilizing funds to deal with the exigency of the times,” he said.

He, therefore, said that one of such ways of mobilizing funds was to reduce official graft and corruption.

Wabba said that it does not make sense to ask Nigerians to make sacrifices when they are daily regaled of putrid stories of how public officials are accused of swallowing money in billions and making a comic of ‘fainting’ afterward.

“Second, there are thousands of unoccupied houses in different parts of the Federal Capital Territory and indeed many cities in Nigeria belonging to very affluent members of the society.

“As we have always demanded and canvassed, the Government should tax such property in order to relieve Nigeria’s daunting housing deficits and to generate the needed funds to run government business.

“While we expect the reversal of the 6 percent tenancy and lease stamp duty policy, we remind the government that its highest responsibility is to ensure the security and welfare of every Nigerian,” he said.

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NIGERIA

No going back on Water Resources Bill – FG

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The Federal Government has declared it will go ahead with the Water Resources Bill.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed told reporters the bill was not designed to cause water wars in the country.

He said the bill is a panacea to likely water conflicts in the country.

He said critics of the bill have either not read it or might be mischievous.

He said there is no hidden agenda behind the bill.

He said it is not a subterfuge reintroduction of RUGA.

Mohammed made the clarifications at a joint briefing with the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu in Abuja.

He said: “There is nothing new about the National Water Resources Bill. This is because it is an amalgamation of Water Resources Laws that have been in existence for a long time.

These are:

– Water Resources Act, Cap W2 LFN 2004

– The River Basin Development Authority Act, Cap R9 LFN 2004

– The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (Establishment) Act, Cap N1100A, LFN 2004

– National Water Resources Institute Act, Cap N83 LFN 2004

“So, why are the laws being re-packaged as the National Water Resources Bill 2020?

“The answer is that they are being re-enacted with necessary modifications to bring them in line with current global trends as well as best practices in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

“The overall objective of this amalgamation is the efficient management of the Water Resources Sector for the economic development of Nigeria and the well-being of its citizens.

“The Bill provides for professional and efficient management of all surface and ground water for the use of the people (i.e. for domestic and non-domestic use, irrigation, agricultural purposes, generation of hydro-electric energy, navigation, fisheries and recreation).

“The Bill will ensure that the nation’s water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all persons.

“Critics contend that the Bill is aimed at taking the resources of a certain part of the country for the use of herders. In other words, the Federal Government is seeking to implement RUGA by subterfuge.

“We also want to state that the Bill is for the good of the nation, and has no hidden agenda whatsoever.”

Adamu said the bill was sent to all the states for concurrence without any object.

He said the bill predated the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said:” This was never a Buhari bill, it is a bill for Nigeria. It started 2008 long before the President thought of winning election.”

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NIGERIA

#Fuel hike: No going back on strike, protest – NLC

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has vowed to proceed with its planned strike and protest with effect from September 28 following the failure of the Federal Government to reverse the hike in electricity tariff and fuel price.

Rising from its National Executive Council meeting in Abuja a few minutes ago, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the proposed action by the organised labour would proceed from next week.

He stated that the decision was unanimously taken by the chairmen of the 36 states and FCT chapters of the NLC.

Details later…

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Business

#Technology: Sanusi Urges Youths To Explore and not Rely on Government

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The Former Central Bank Governor, CBN, Mohammed Sanusi (II), has urged Nigeria youths not to rely on government but to explore and create opportunities for themselves, especially with technology.

The former CBN governor who was the guest speaker on the second day of the Kaduna Investment Summit explained that over-reliance on oil has left the country unproductive.

“We need to think over and over again as to how we understand economics and what we see. How do we understand technology or electricity are we consumers or are we producers and that’s why investment in human capital is so important.

“Produce young men who know that they are worth more than just using their phone to import a pair of shoes,” he said.

Sanusi said Nigeria has to take economic diversification more seriously in order to experience growth and development.

Referencing Malaysia, Sanusi gave a breakdown of the economic growth of both countries within a 30-year period.

According to him, for Nigeria “there was an increase in wealth but without any structural transformation”.

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“We were growing but we did not diversify and that explains the huge levels of poverty in the country, it explains the huge levels of inequality in the country, it explains the vulnerability of the economy to shocks, it also explains the relatively slow pace of growth because when Malaysia started, they started from a GDP per capita level lower than Nigeria’s GDP per capita in 1985. It started from $310 to $4,045 while we started from $345 to $2,055”.

He also stressed the importance of the government creating the right environment and infrastructure for private businesses to thrive.

The former CBN governor who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency noted that with the right environment, the country can move away from being only consumers to producers of technology.

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