The Trade Union
Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has called on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to suspend the proposed 9 per cent communication service tax bill on calls, Sms and other services before the National Assembly.
A statement on Wednesday signed by the TUC National President, Comrade Bobboi Bola Kaigama, said such tax would further worsen the nation’s economy presently in a recession.
Kaigama said that it makes no meaningful sense for the government to initiate such policies that would further stifle businesses in the country rather than wooing investors.
He said that the introduction of the tax as recently disclosed by the minister of communication would effectively mean that nine percent tax would be charged on all phone calls, Sms, Mms, data package of individuals.
He declared that TUC must ensure that “That bill must not be passed. The federal government should stop rubbing salt on the masses’ injury, “stressing that the masses are already overburdened with multiple taxations.
The labour leader further said that the policy, apart from exploiting the already impoverished masses, would discourage investment and lead to loss of jobs by Nigerians.
He accused the Minister of Communication, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu of unilaterally imposing the (CST) bill on Nigerians without carrying along critical stakeholders including the organised labout before proposing such a national policy.
The Union’s President clearly stated that “The congress faults the Minister of Communication’s claim that the country would earn as much as N20 billion monthly in consequence of passage of the proposed bill and that it would help cushion some of the country’s economic challenges and fund budget deficit”.
He further stated that “while the union appreciates the minister concern on how to fund the budget the government should rather focus on ensuring more judicious use of revenue derived from value added tax (VAT), Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), stamp dutie’s vehicle license, passport fees, customs duty, petroleum profit tax (PPT) and other taxes collected from the masses and companies”.
He added that it would be more appropriate for the desired additional taxes to be imposed on the GSM operators and other players in the communication industry than the poor masses impoverished by the state of the nation’s economy.