The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) Wednesday expressed concern over government’s plans to increase taxes, saying such increase would kill businesses in the country.
Briefing State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Director General of NECA Mr Timothy Olawale said the private sector is already being burdened with 105 taxes and levies, warning that any attempt to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) as being proposed would be a serious burden on the country’s economy.
“Basically, what we told the president is what we have repeated over and over again in the public domain, that rather than any increase in taxation because as it is, organized businesses are already being overburdened with all sorts of taxes and levies.
“As a matter of fact, we have calculated 105 different taxes and levies we are paying as we speak, which is cumbersome and burdensome. So, we had advised that rather than resort to any form of increase in taxation, what government should be looking at is putting mechanism in place to widen the tax net in such a way that almost 65 percent of non-compliant tax payers are captured in the tax net. That way, more revenue will accrue into the coffers of the government.
“We specifically also voiced are concerned with the suggestion and proposal out there that Value Added Tax should be increased. We have advised government that if it comes to be, it will reduced the purchasing power of Nigerian workers as well as the poor masses that the president as we know is working hard to improve their lot.
“We are saying that if government must as a matter of an avoidable necessity increase VAT, it should target luxury goods as well as the extra affluence in the society, not the poor masses or consumption goods and services that are for the benefit of the masses,” he said.