- Manufacturers Oppose FG’s Planned Increase in Taxation and VAT
Manufacturers and providers of goods and services under the aegis of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) Wednesday expressed their opposition to the plans by the federal government to increase taxation, including the value added tax (VAT).
NECA also called on the federal government to address the nation’s infrastructure deficit before the take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
It lauded the signing of the agreement by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the trade pact could enhance capital inflows into the country.
It also warned that AfCFTA could harm the country’s economy in view of what it described as the variables of Nigerian businesses and industry.
Speaking after leading a delegation of NECA to a meeting with President Buhari in the State House, Abuja, NECA’s Director-General, Timothy Olawale, said members of the delegation told Buhari that increasing tax this period would increase the burden of companies which were already paying more than they could bear.
Besides, he said increasing VAT now would further impoverish the poor.
A former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had said in June that the federal government was planning to increase VAT to 7.5 per cent from the current five per cent by 2020.
She said the increment would help the federal government to shore up falling revenue.
But Olawale said the delegation told the president that instead of increasing any tax rate, efforts should rather be geared towards broadening the scope of tax collection by going after 65 per cent of the citizenry who do not pay tax.
He said if at all VAT would be increased, the increase should be targeted at luxury goods and opulent people and not the masses.
“Basically, what we told the president is what we have repeated over and over again in the public domain, that rather than any increase in taxation because as it is, organised businesses are already being overburdened with all sorts of taxes and levies; as a matter of fact, we have calculated 105 different taxes and levies we are paying as we speak, which is cumbersome and burdensome.
“So, we had advised that rather than resort to any form of increase in taxation, what government should be looking at is putting mechanism in place to widen the tax net in such a way that almost 65 per cent of non-compliant taxpayers are captured in the tax net. That way, more revenue will accrue into the coffers of the government. We specifically also voiced our concern with the suggestion and proposal out there that value added tax should be increased.
“We have advised government that if it comes to be, it will reduce the purchasing power of Nigerian workers as well as the poor masses that the president, as we know, is working hard to improve their lot. We are saying that if government must as a matter of an avoidable necessity increase VAT, it should target luxury goods as well as the extra affluence in the society, not the poor masses or consumption goods and services that are for the benefit of the masses,” he said.
On AfCFTA, Olawale said whereas the agreement was laudable and could enhance capital inflows into the country, it could also harm the country’s economy in view of what he described as the variables of Nigerian businesses and industry.
He listed such variables to include poor infrastructure deficit, which does not make Nigerian goods and services competitive.
According to him, to save the country’s businesses from chaos, the government must address the lingering challenges, otherwise, companies that are already struggling will eventually fold up when the implementation begins.
“We don’t want a situation where our businesses are not competitive due to the disadvantaged environment in which they operate. Of course, we are all familiar with the disadvantaged environment with regards to the issue of agriculture among which is power and the issue of road network, that is transportation of goods and services and accessibility to the different business environment.
“What we are saying is that if all these issues are not addressed properly, to make our businesses competitive, definitely we are going to be at the receiving end, to the extent that our nation will become a dumping ground. And even some of the factories that are even struggling presently may end up folding up. Of course, we know the history of the textile sector and that can be replicated in any sector and we don’t want us to get to that extent.
“That is why we are saying government should put mechanism in place to address these issues so that we can be competitive and so that we can take our rightful place and maximise the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement,” Olawale added.
On the level of compliance of NECA with the new Minimum Wage Act, which jacked up minimum wage in the country from N18,000 to N30,000, Olawale said already 70 per cent of members of NECA were paying above N30,000 before the law was made and there was nothing to worry about on compliance with the law.
Responding, Buhari told the NECA delegation that federal government’s policies would be designed to support exportation more than importation, assuring them that the implementation of AfCFTA would be devoid of crisis.
Buhari also told the group that he agreed with members of the delegation that there are challenges that need to be fixed, pledging that such challenges will be addressed with a view to putting in place the mechanism for the success of Nigeria’s businesses.
He urged the delegation to be patient and show understanding and simultaneously engage the federal government by giving it what he described as “constructive and honest feedback.”
Npower News Today: Npower Salary Update, Npower Latest News on Permanency
Latest Npower News Today: Npower Salary Update and Npower Latest News on Permanency
The Federal Government continues to engage private businesses and organisations on the absorption of exited batch A and batch B of the Npower program.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, disclosed this in Abuja.
On continuity and sustenance, the Federal Government allocated N420 billion to Npower and other social investment programmes in the 2021 proposed budget before the National Assembly.
President Muhammadu Buhari also made mention of it in his last speech regarding the #EndSARS protest.
Buhari said, “In furtherance of our inclusiveness agenda, the sum of N420 billion has been provided to sustain the Social Investment Programmes, while N20 billion has also been set aside for the family homes and our Social Housing Programme.”
Speaking on unpaid exited Npower beneficiaries of batches A and B, the minister said “the ministry has directed that opportunity be given to the affected beneficiaries to verify and re-validate their eligibility so that qualified beneficiaries can be paid for their participation in the N-Power Programme.
“Beneficiaries are hereby directed to report to their State Focal Persons immediately with their bank account details including bank statements from March 2020 to date, NYSC Discharge Certificates, birth certificates and other related screening documents.
“The deadline for verification is October 13, 2020. Beneficiaries who fail to attend the verification exercise will forfeit their stipends.”
The fresh verification has now closed, however, the list of the successful candidates for Batch C would be announced soon according to the minister while the Federal Government continues to work on permanent placement for exited Npower beneficiaries.
On fake Npower news flying across social media, Rhoda Ishaku Iliya, the Deputy Director Information of the ministry, said the attention of the ministry has been drawn to series of fake news trending on social media.
She said “the attention of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has been drawn to the fake news trending on social media that President Muhammadu Buhari will broadcast to the nation the absorption of N-Power Volunteers Batch A, into the Federal Civil Service,” the statement reads.
“The Ministry is hereby calling on the public to disregard the message and consider it as fake news. Any information on N-Power or the National Social Investment Programme will be issued through the appropriate Federal Government channels.”
Soldiers, Police Battle Hoodlums to Prevent Looting of Computer Village
Soldiers and Police Battle Hoodlums Trying to Loot Computer Village
Hoodlums that hijacked the #EndSARS protest and turned it into a broad day robbery have continued to attack business districts, offices and properties of known establishments to loot and destroy years of labour despite the negative impacts of COVID-19 on these businesses.
Soldiers that were later joined by the Nigerian Police Force have been trying to repel hoodlums looking to break into computer village in Ikeja, Lagos State since the #EndSARS protest was hijacked.
According to residents and business owners contacted, the armed looters are still making an attempt to overpower security agents knowing there are valuables in the shops.
“Right now they are still making an attempt (to overpower security agents) and considering the sensitivity of the business that we do, we sell very valuable commodities and they understand the liquidity of these products,” said Adeniyi Ojikutu, president, Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) said on the phone.
Ojikutu said the hoodlums, who were more than 500 in number, had shot in the air when they were discovered and remained close by for an opportunity to eventually break into the largest computer, mobile devices and ICT accessory market in Africa.
Also, because computer village is within close proximity to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), a new BRT station, Jara Mall, the Lagos State Police Command, Lagos State High Court and both the local and international Airports, it becomes imperative to protect it as a break-in by looters may spell disaster for other top establishments in the vicinity.
A resident said ‘Benin Boys’, a group of hoodlums, had earlier tried to invade computer village around 1 am but were prevented by security operatives. However, those that have been making attempts between the morning and afternoon of Friday were the Agege boys.
“The security were using megaphones to shout and warn all of us to stay inside,” said this resident.
Dangote Sugar Refinery Postpones Board Meeting Amid Social Unrest
Dangote Sugar Refinery Has Postponed Board Meeting Scheduled for Today Amid Social Unrest
The management of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc on Friday said they have decided to postpone the company’s board meeting scheduled to hold today October 23, 2020 to a date they will communicate soon.
The management said the decision was due to the ongoing precarious situation in the country, especially the attacks on various establishments since governor Sanwo-Olu imposed a 24-hour curfew on all parts of the state.
In a statement signed by the company secretary, Mrs. Temitope Hassan, Dangote Sugar Refinery said “Further to our announcement made on October 8, 2020, the Company wishes to notify the Exchange and the investing public that the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Company earlier scheduled to be held on Friday October 23, 2020 to consider the draft unaudited financial statement of the Company for the Q3 ended September 30, 2020 has been postponed in view of the current precarious situation in the country.
“The new date for the meeting will be communicated as soon as normalcy returns. The Closed Period which has already commenced will continue till 24 hours after the filling of the Results.
“No insider of the Company, including its Directors, Employees, Advisers and Consultants and their connected persons may deal directly or indirectly in the Shares of the Company during the Closed Period.
All Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc Insiders have been duly informed.”
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