Private sector seeks government’s intervention on VAT remittance
Following the controversy between the Federal and State Government on Value Added Tax (VAT), especially as today’s penalty-free period ends for tax remittance for the month of August, organised businesses have expressed concerns as to where to fulfil their tax obligations.
Members of the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN), who expressed that they have remained law-abiding, fulfilling their tax obligations to both the Federal and State governments, said they were seriously concerned about the consequences of the on-going controversy.
They argued that it would be an aberration to punish businesses or make them suffer while offering pro-bono service with the ongoing situation that had created an environment of uncertainty, which will not only affect business competitiveness but also its sustainability.
Addressing a press conference over the weekend, Chairman of the OPSN, Taiwo Adeniyi, in presence of some members of the body, said as the deadline for remittance of VAT collection falls due on 21st of every month, businesses as the collecting agents, are practically unclear on authority to remit to and without a clear path, would further aggravate the pain on businesses.
He affirmed that organised businesses are not against the payment of taxes and levies in the country, but it was important that at a time when businesses are clamouring for streamlining and reduction of tax burdens, the ongoing challenge has the potential to make businesses pay double-VAT in view of the demands of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and state governments for remittance of VAT.
He said considering the myriads of challenges businesses have been battling with, making the survival of enterprises and ease of doing business in the country among the worst in this part of the world, Adeniyi, who is also the president of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), said the VAT controversy to accumulated issues facing Nigerian businesses would make the survival of enterprises even tougher.
While appreciating the Lagos and Rivers State Governments for the platform created to engage organised businesses in the course of the controversy, he appealed that the FIRS and the states should also engage, in the interest of enterprise competitiveness and national development.
He also appealed that while the issue remains in the legal quarters, the FIRS and the states should not throw organised businesses under the bus.