Union resists VAT increase, says it is an attempt to overburden consumers
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), has criticised an aspect of the Finance Bill signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, endorsing the approval of the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from five to 7.5 per cent.
Describing the increase as a deliberate attempt to further overburden the masses and stifle businesses, the Union warned that it will be resisted.
They argued that the hike was a ploy to get back at workers for asking for a review of the national minimum wage, noting that this contradicted the promise of change the current administration made to Nigerians at the build-up to 2015 elections.
President of TUC, Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, who insisted that multiple taxes is a bane to economic development anywhere in the world, said most countries are instead reducing taxes to encourage small scale businesses.
He maintained that any law that helps the government to generate more revenue at the expense of the public is anti-people and incapable of growing any economy.
Quoting reports by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the unemployment and underemployment rate is over 43.3 per cent, he said by implication it meant that most parents still feed their able-bodied youth even after graduation from tertiary institutions.
According to him, the Federal Government appeared to be more interested in collecting taxes than creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, as empirical evidence has shown that the poverty rate in Nigeria has increased abysmally.
Noting that the government cannot create all the jobs, the TUC also called on the government to provide a conducive environment to fertilise efforts by individuals to set up businesses.
“Not much can be achieved if investors are daily grappling with taxes. Government must begin to think out of the box to salvage the economy. Therefore 7.5 per cent increase in tax is a no for the TUC,” Olaleye said.
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