- Labour, Stakeholders Says no to 50% VAT Increase
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has kicked against the approved 50 percent increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) to 7.5 percent from the current 5 percent.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) request to increase VAT by 2.5 or 50 percent of the current 5 percent to 7.5 percent.
A move Nigerians described as anti-people and instituted to wipe off the gains of the new minimum wage.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) said the move would render the N30,000 new minimum wage useless.
Comrade Emma Ugboaja, General Secretary, NLC, noted that the increment would hurt new job creation as it wasn’t well thought-out.
He said: “We reject the increase as it clearly seeks to erode whatever purchasing power the new minimum wage may bring. We see it as a move not well thought through with the welfare of Nigeria wage earners in mind. Its impact on Nigerian manufacturers and job creation and retention will be nightmarish. It is clearly insensitive to the plight of the ordinary Nigerians. What the government needs to do is to widen the tax net and get people to pay tax and not to over tax those that are at present in the net.”
Mr Timothy Olawale, NECA’s director-general, who also condemn the increment, argued that it would neutralise the benefits of the recently increased minimum wage.
He said with the economy growing at a slower pace than expected and unemployment at a record high of 23.1 percent, it is counterproductive to hike VAT.
“Also, International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently revised downward its global economic growth forecast to 3.2 per cent due to sluggish in global economy.
“Therefore, this suggests, that at such period of time, economies should be formulating fiscal measures/policies to stimulate their economies,” Olawale said in a statement he issued in Lagos.
A financial expert, Dr Suleyman Ndanusa, former director-general, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also warned that the move would hurt consumer spending and weigh on sales.
“The timing is quite wrong; at this point in time, our economy needs to be helped by policies that would ginger more consumption and more disposable income for the people. The paradigm for me has to change. Are we increasing tax just for the purpose of revenue or managing our fiscal policy taxation for growth?
“The paradigm has shifted from revenue-driven taxation to growth-driven taxation,” Ndanusa stated.
He advised that “Nigeria should be thinking on what to do to create the genetic energy for our economy at this time, where we are growing at 2.5 per cent.”
People’s Democratic Party Position on VAT
The opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), said the party rejected the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to raise VAT, saying it would further hurt Nigerians.
Kola Ologbondiyan, the national publicity secretary, PDP, said: “Indeed, only an administration that does not have the mandate of the people can seek to adopt such oppressive stance against its citizens.
“President Buhari ought to be aware that an increase in VAT will worsen our decrepit economy and put more pressure on families and business as it will result in increase in costs of goods and services that have direct bearing on the welfare of the people.
“Our party charges the Buhari Presidency not to further punish Nigerians by imposing harsh tax regime to make up for its crass incompetence and lack of capacity to effectively harness and manage our resources to create wealth for the benefit of the people.
“It is even more painful that the Buhari Presidency cannot give account of the huge resources at its disposal, including the taxes it has been collecting in the last four years, most of which are frittered to service the wasteful lifestyle of the cabal at the Presidency and All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains.
“Instead of foisting more tax burden on Nigerians, the PDP charges President Buhari to account for and recover the over N14 trillion oil money established to have been stolen under his watch in the last four years.
“It is disheartening that at the time Nigerians ought to be enjoying the economic recovery and empowerment blueprint set out by Atiku Abubakar, which included slash in taxes and levies, they are rather faced with an unjustifiable and indefensible tax increase,” the party added.
Egypt Leads Nigeria, South Africa in Foreign Direct Investment
The United Nations Trade Association has Nigeria recorded a total of $2.6 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020, below the $3.3 billion posted in the preceeding year.
South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised nation, reported $2.5 billion during the same year, slightly below Africa’s largest economy and 50 percent below the $4.6 billion attracted a year earlier.
The report also noted that Africa recorded a total of $38 billion FDI in the same year, representing a 18 percent decline from the $46 billion posted in the corresponding year of 2019.
However, Egypt led Nigeria and South Africa with $5.5 billion FDI, an increase of 38 percent from the preceeding year.
The report read in part, “FDI flows to Africa declined by 18% to an estimated $38 billion, from $46 billion in 2019. Greenfield project announcements, an indication of future FDI trends, fell 63% to $28 billion, from $77 billion in 2019. The pandemic’s negative impact on FDI was amplified by low prices of and low demand for commodities.”
UNCTAD also noted that global foreign direct investment declined by 42 percent to an estimated $859 billion, down from $1.5 trillion in 2019.
“The decline was concentrated in developed countries, where FDI flows fell by 69 percent to an estimated $229 billion. Flows to Europe dried up completely to -4 billion (including large negative flows in several countries). A sharp decrease was also recorded in the United States (-49%) to $134 billion.”
FG to Partly Fund Six Rail Projects Connecting All Regions
The Federal Government will pay a total sum of N71 billion to partly fund six rail projects connecting all regions of the country.
In the report obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the six rail projects marked for development this year are Lagos-Kano rail line (ongoing), Calabar-Lagos (ongoing), and Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri).
Others are the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway, the new Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi line in Niger Republic and the Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja-Warri Port and refinery/Warri new harbour.
The Buhari administration will also spend N15.1 billion on the development of safety and security of critical projects, airport certification, runway construction, terminal building, among others in the aviation sector in 2021.
Last week, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said the Lagos-Kano line would be connected from the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and would cost $5.3 billion.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract,” the minister said.
He added, “The moment I announced that the Federal Government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to CCECC (China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation) to construct Ibadan-Kano, people assumed the money had come in; no.
“We have not got the money, which is a year after we applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence.”
FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience
In a bid to improve the usage and enhance the convenience of train transport in Nigeria, the Federal Government on Thursday announced the launching of the Electronic Ticketing platform for the Kaduna-Abuja rail services.
The N900 million E-ticketing platform was introduced by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike R. Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Amaechi said the new platform would improve efficiency, promote accountability, reduce leakage and enhance economic growth, as well as save time.
The E-ticketing platform was a Public-Private Partnership project done in conjunction with Secure ID Solutions, who provide and would manage the system for 10 years in an effort to recoup its investment before the Nigerian Railway Corporation take charge.
Kofo Akinkugbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID Solutions, said as the new E-platform issued 25,000 tickets after a successful pilot test on Thursday.
Potential Travelers can book via three ways:
1. Mobile app
3. POS or Cash at the station
A validator would be used to scan the ticket barcode to ascertain its authenticity before boarding.
Amaechi further announced that self-service ticket vending machines at various train stations would be introduced soon.
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