LCCI tasks FG on economic diversification as oil prices wobble
• Wants tax drive focused on consumers rather than investors
• Tax policy should take into cognisance status of economy, says MAN
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has set an agenda on economic diversification for President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term with emphasis on the need to strengthen the capacity of the economy to create jobs, drive inclusive growth and promote income redistribution
According to the LCCI, a key focus of diversification should be on resource-based industries – agro-allied, oil and gas and manufacturing with high local content.“We need to put an end to being just a crude oil exporter to self-sufficiency in petroleum products and exporter of refined products and other gas-related products. A great deal of potential still needs to be unlocked in the oil and gas sector – refineries, fertiliser plants, gas-based industries, petrochemicals”, LCCI’s Director-General, Muda Yusuf, said in a document released yesterday.
He said that the monetary policy should be designed to drive domestic investment through a moderation of the monetary tightening stance of the CBN, as it is difficult to drive domestic investment at current level of interest rate, which is well over 25 per cent for most economic players.
The LCCI stated that the renewed aggressive tax drive should focus more on investors than consumers, as the burden of taxation is more on the investors in the economy than the consumers.
Meanwhile, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has, however, reiterated its position on additional tax burden on consumers, saying: “The principle of a good tax system is predicated on payment convenience, otherwise it could boomerang, leading to crowding out of businesses; more misery to the citizens and even lesser revenue to the government.”
“Therefore, ideal tax policy should be such that takes into cognisance the status of the economy. “Government should widen the tax net rather than increasing the rate to meet the growing need for more revenue to address the development objective of the country. There is also the need to harmonise taxes/levies/fees payable by businesses in the country so as to attract more investment that would translate to higher productivity and more tax revenue for the government in the medium and long term.”
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