The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has described increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5.0 per cent to 7.5 per cent by the Federal Government “as a deliberate attempt to further overburden the common man and stifle businesses”.
The union in a statement on Tuesday explained that multiple taxation is a bane to economic development “anywhere in the world; hence most countries are reducing taxes to encourage Small Scale Businesses”.
In the statement issued by Comrade Quadri Olaleye, President, TUC, and Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, Secretary General, the Union 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.
“According reports by the National Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment and underemployment rate is over 43.3 percent. By implication it means that most parents still feed their able-bodied youth 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 a ploy 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 of 2015 elections.
“Congress agrees that the government cannot create all the jobs; at the same time, a conducive environment should be provided to fertilise the efforts by individuals to set up businesses. Not much can be achieved if investors are daily grappling with taxes. The government must begin to think out of the box to salvage the economy. Therefore 7.5 per cent increase in tax is a NO for the TUC.”