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Experts canvass funding for regulatory agencies to reduce dependence on levies

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Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf

Experts have stressed the need for regulatory agencies to be better funded by government, to reduce their dependence on fees, fines and levies from businesses to run their operations have been canvassed.

In separate interviews with The Guardian, they argued that the current arrangement often stifles investment and economic diversification efforts, noting that such agencies should facilitate investment growth rather than see themselves as revenue generation entities.

They maintained that many regulatory agencies depend on the fees and levies imposed on business to run their operation, which should not be the case.

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The Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, said rather for the regulators become burden on businesses, they should be seen to support the efforts of government to promote investment.

He said they should also consider the limitations faced by investors, especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the economy.

Noting that the recent initiatives of the government on the Ease of Doing Business (EODB), are in consonance with his proposition, he decried that the country’s aggressive tax drive is disproportionately targeted at investors.

This, he said is inherently a disincentive to investment and economic diversification, and not in consonance with best practice principles in taxation.

He argued that in an economy which is almost 50 per cent informal, the nation’s structure of taxation is not investment friendly.

According to him, “The formal sector of the economy bears the largest burden of the tax system. The tax policy needs to be better attuned to economic diversification by through a reduction in the tax burden on investors. Taxation should not be seen only as an instrument of revenue generation; it is also a potent instrument for stimulation of investment.”

President of the Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Patrick Anegbe, said government needed to put in place adequate measures to monitor the implementation of its policy on EODB.

He said the abuses that have characterised it needed to be identified and punished to serve as a deterrent to regulatory agencies found wanting.

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