OPS urges FG to halt further taxation on businesses

By Merit Ibe, 

Manufacturers and members of the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) have urged the Federal Government to spare businesses further taxation.

The private sector operators decried imposition of new taxes on businesses and proffered expanding the tax net, citing concerns for increased tension in a struggling business environment.

They noted that  any increase in taxation in whatever form or guise would be counterproductive and could retard the contributions of the manufacturing sector to the GDP and cause great setback on the ability of the real sector to support poverty reduction/alleviation and job creation aspirations of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), stated that manufacturers in the country have been groaning under multiple taxations from the three tiers of government.

It pleaded that manufacturing businesses are yet to fully stabilise from the debilitating disruptive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the so-called relief funds from the government have remained largely non-accessible to manufacturers. The Director-General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, explained that there is need to streamline observed multiplicity of taxes and ensure that only approved taxes/levies/fees are charged by these agencies of government.

Moreover, the MAN director-general added that government should begin to consider reducing the various tax rates which have been the global order in recent times to encourage investment.

He  explained that majority of  businesses agree that multiple/over-regulation by agencies of government depress productivity.

Particularly, he said government as a matter of urgency needs to heed to the clarion call of the organised private sector by streamlining the agencies now to restore public confidence in ease of doing business in the country.

The Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr. Muda Yusuf, stated that Nigerian manufacturing companies, and indeed most investors, are going through tremendous stress at the moment. Yusuf agreed that, new taxes are being frequently added to the myriad of taxes on the already over-burdened private sector.

He said the private sector has increasingly become the target for regulatory agencies seeking to raise revenue for government deficit, which continue to take a toll on the private sector competitiveness.

“Constant imposition of levies and approval of licences are taking a toll 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 over-burdening the private sector with additional taxes. “The Federal Government should look at other areas of raising funds to implement the budget and of course tax is a must for everyone, but at the same time, we should not put too much pressure on the private sector in the area of raising revenue. We are appealing that the federal government should expand the tax net as against putting pressure on the very compliant taxpayers.”

President of NACCIMA, John Udeagbala, suggested an increased tax base over increased taxes and leveraging investments through public-private-partnerships in exchange for tax credits spread over time, noting that it is now generally accepted that the current levels of debt service payments are considerably high and unsustainable given dwindling government’s revenues.

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