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‘6% Stamp duty on rent will worsen hardship’

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has criticised the move by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to make property owners and their agents charge six per cent stamp duty on all tenancy and lease agreements, saying it is another ploy to further impoverish Nigerians.

The congress said if the FIRS should add the new charge on rent, it would make nonsense of the new minimum wage which many states were not even paying.

President of TUC, Quadri Olaleye and the Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, in a statement said enforcement of stamp duty on house rent and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) should not be on the priority list of the FIRS “at a time the country is experiencing housing deficit and millions of Nigerians have lost their jobs.”

Rejecting the FIRS move, the union advised the Federal Government to immediately order the revenue agency to stay action if it did not want to incur the wrath of workers and Nigerians.

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TUC advised that government should use the recovered loot and widen the tax net to include a large number of the rich if the country is really in desperate need of money, maintaining that Nigerians are already down and should not be further pressured.

“The mineral deposits all over the country should be explored by government and not individuals. Government must get serious with governance and stop inflicting unnecessary pains on Nigerians.

“It is shameful that FIRS is asking for such at a time the tax payers’ money is being mismanaged by agencies of government. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and others are currently being probed by the National Assembly over alleged financial impropriety. The questions are: have they managed the trillions of naira that daily accrue to the federation account well; why must the poor be squeezed to enrich those in government?

“Till date, there are countries that are still giving out palliatives to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Some countries, apart from giving out palliatives, also took responsibility of the utility bills. We read that Ghanaians will not be paying for power throughout this year. Why is our case always different? Why increase our burden now?

“There are many bills Nigerians pay without enjoying commensurate services. Already, tenants pay rent, agreement, caution, maintenance, LAWMA, electricity and security, among others.

If they, again, add 6 per cent charge on rent, it makes nonsense of the new minimum wage which many states are not paying. How do we feed our families and pay school fees? The country needs money, no doubt, but do you cut the nose to spite your face?”

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