How to drive development of small businesses, by NASME
The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises ( NASME) has called on the Federal Government to review tax rates downwards, noting that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are still faced with myriad of challenges hindering the sub-sector’s potential to transform the nation’s economy.
Indeed, the association, citing the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said there are over 37 million SMEs in the country with only five million captured in the tax net.
The President, NASME, Degun Agboade, explained that there is need to get a large number of SMEs into the tax net, urging the federal government to introduce a waiver system to attract small businesses that have not been paying over the years the opportunity to pay up their arrears while also getting them into the tax net.
Agboade during a public-private dialogue on tax and regulatory policy framework for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Lagos, noted that the unprecedented global attention paid to MSMEs in developing economies especially in Nigeria clearly indicates the critical importance of the sector for sustainable economic growth.
He added that statistical indicators on the potential of the sector towards job creation, poverty reduction and economic growth have continued to show positive trends and its expected contributions to Gross Domestic Product ( GDP).
He restated the need for a conducive operating environment for MSMEs, maintaining that the current stagnation facing businesses resulting from multiple taxation, levies, fees, permits should not be overlooked.
“This public private dialogue is expected to provide a platform for industries and enterprises to exchange ideas and proffer solutions to support government of a best fit-tax regime that meets government’s objectives to generate revenue while enabling economic growth via MSME success,” he said.
In his words: “It is our considered opinion that when all these are done, we will be able to capture and voluntarily get a lot of MSMEs into the tax net. The result will be huge and unprecedented. I wish to propose that the recommendations of this dialogue will be passed to appropriate authorities for implementation for the benefit of our people and the country. Today’s event is a climax of a process that we started some eight months back to do the mapping of the current effect of taxation system on SMEs.”
He said a report on the effect of multiplicity of taxes on SMEs which was jointly carried out by Deloitte identified some of the challenges facing SMEs, suggesting a window that will bring all its members into the tax net voluntarily.
“SMEs are still faced with infrastructural challenges where infrastructure such as power, roads and also the challenge of marketing because most of our SME products are not of international standards. We need to have some improvement in terms of packaging. We are also suggesting to the federal government to introduce a law to instruct big shopping malls to stock at least over 10 per cent of locally produced goods and the insatiable demand for foreign goods by Nigerians is also a challenge. Now that oil is gone, we must look inward to push our products out to the market,” he added.
The Executive Secretary, NASME, Eke Ubiji, commended the Federal Ministry of Finance national tax review committee, saying that the association has already started a campaign which seeks to see that tax is reviewed downwards for positive impact to the nation.
“We believe that if this tax is reviewed, we will be able to get more SMEs into the tax net. We are also asking for waivers for those that have not been paying. We must find a way not to scare those with about five years of arrears to pay up and get them into the tax net. If we are able to achieve this, it will mean more revenue to the federal government for developmental projects.
“We have been working with the committee. This event is the climax and there are lots of activities to carry out to drive home our point on the review of taxation as it affects SMEs and also help the government to get more SMEs into the tax net,” he said.
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