The Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON), representing drivers from platforms like Bolt, Uber, and others, has initiated a nationwide strike today in response to the removal of fuel subsidy.
The removal of the subsidy has resulted in a surge in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), causing e-hailing drivers to express concerns about the inadequate fare increase implemented by ride-hailing companies. This, in turn, has had a detrimental impact on their income.
In a statement released by AUATWON, it acknowledged that the Federal Government has engaged in discussions with the Nigeria Labour Congress to address the fuel subsidy removal and facilitate negotiations on behalf of the workers.
Nevertheless, the union alleges that app companies have obstinately refused to establish a platform for negotiations with the drivers, thereby prolonging the planned industrial action.
The union said,
“App companies are not bigger than the government. If our government despite its strength can negotiate and have documented agreements with NLC and TUC, why will-App companies remain in their dictatorial attitude It’s time we negotiate with them and have documented agreements away from the terms and conditions they are changing every day without our input.
“As a result of this insensitivity, the union is directing all its members across the nation to shut down their service on all ride-hailing applications from Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in protest against every dictatorial practice and lack of concern for welfare and security of App-Based Transport workers of Nigeria.”
The union is urging driver partners, fleet managers, and app-based transport workers nationwide to stand in solidarity and support the strike. Additionally, they emphasize that during the protest, all drivers on rentals or hire purchases should be granted a waiver.
Checks by Investors King showed that to address the drivers’ concerns, they are requesting several measures, including a minimum of a 200 percent increase in fares, a 50 percent reduction in commission charges, and an end to the unjust deactivation of drivers who decline to work due to low fares and resulting lack of profitability.
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Tax Expert Urges Government to Boost Investment-Friendly Tax Environment
Calls for Fairness, Transparency, and Seamless Tax Process to Attract Investors
Dr. Titilayo Fowokan, a former Lagos State Coordinator of the Society of Women in Taxation (SWIT), has called for a significant improvement in the tax environment.
Her recommendations encompass fairness, transparency, and a seamless tax collection process to stimulate economic growth.
Speaking recently in Lagos, Dr. Fowokan commended the present administration’s efforts in implementing tax reforms, particularly highlighting the Finance Act of 2023 and the work of the Taiwo Oyedele-led tax reform committee.
She emphasized the alignment of these initiatives with current economic realities, especially in enhancing the ease of doing business.
However, Dr. Fowokan voiced concerns about the impact of excessive exchange rate volatility and fuel subsidy removal on these reforms.
She noted that these factors have driven up the cost of doing business in the country, putting pressure on investors.
“Overall, businesses and companies are adjusting to the drive for compliance by the current tax system and reviewing their tax strategy, value and supply chain management, tax controls, risk management, and tax planning initiatives for sustainability,” Dr. Fowokan stated.
In addition to her recommendations for governments, Dr. Fowokan urged tax administrators to improve interactions between taxpayers and new digital tax payment platforms.
She acknowledged the benefits of transitioning to an automated tax system, particularly in terms of enhanced tax compliance, and called for further innovation in this area.
“In relation to administrative ease of the current tax system, the FIRS should not limit the Tax Promax platform to punishing non-compliance but also grant access to benefits for compliance. This is from the angle of penalty regimes on the platform versus the claim of Withholding tax credits through the platform. An improvement in this will be a significant boost to the ease of doing business in Nigeria,” Dr. Fowokan emphasized.
The recommendations put forth by Dr. Titilayo Fowokan underscore the importance of fostering an investment-friendly tax environment that prioritizes fairness, transparency, and efficiency. As governments contemplate their fiscal policies, her insights serve as a timely reminder of the crucial role tax reform plays in economic development and attracting investment.
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