Nigeria’s influential employers union has warned the Federal Government not to go ahead with a proposal to increase the Value-Added Tax (VAT) charged in the country.
On March 19, the Federal Inland Revenue Service hinted that it might increase VAT to achieve its revenue target.
Speaking at an employers’ forum yesterday in Ikeja, Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mr Timothy Olawale warned that increasing VAT after approving a new wage would have far-reaching implications for the economy.
Olawale argued that apart from weakening the purchasing power of workers, an increased VAT would impact negatively on manufacturers and businesses, which he said, were currently struggling for capacity utilisation.
“The planned increase will erode the gains of the minimum wage for low-income earners and further weaken their purchasing power, among others.”
He said that increasing VAT should not be the only option open to government to fund the payment of the new wage.
Olawale argued further that increasing VAT would wipe whatever gains workers would derive from the new wage, expected to be signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NECA chief said that increasing VAT would also have implications for manufacturers, businesses and consumers in a nation where manufacturers and businesses had been saddled with infrastructure decay and power challenges.
Olawale lamented that some companies were already closing shops, due to worsening operational challenges while others were struggling to stay afloat.
“The proposed increase in VAT will lead to an increase in the cost of doing business which will likely be passed to the consumers. VAT increase is not desirable at this time.
“Government does not have to increase VAT in order to enable it pay a new wage.
“However, in the event that government must increase VAT against the will of the people, it should be limited to luxury or ostentatious goods only.”
Olawale faulted the comparison by some bureaucrats of Nigeria’s VAT rates with other countries as being irrelevant, pointing out that the business climate in other climes were more conducive than what obtained in Nigeria.
He, however, aligned with the position canvassed by the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Babatunde Fowler, that there should be more individual and corporate entities captured in the tax net paying VAT.
According to Olawale, government should reduce its recurrent expenditure, cost of governance, widen the tax net in its bid to generate more revenue and ensure effective collection of taxes from non-compliant citizens or defaulters.
He told the government not to burden businesses with taxes but that it should create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and continue to contribute to the growth of the nation.
Eradiri Faults NDDC Leadership Structure Wants Agric As Top Priority
The Special Adviser to the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Youths, Udens Eradiri, has faulted the leadership structure of the commission, saying it has not helped the cause of the Niger Delta in the last 25 years.
Describing the leadership structure of the NDDC as faulty, he said that the faulty leadership structure was the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for a forensic audit in the commission.
Eradiri who is the former president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC)
disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents, last Friday, shortly on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, from Abuja.
He said the outcome of the forensic audit would be used to do a wholistic reorganisation of the organogram of the commission.
According to him, the wholistic review of the organogram of the NDDC will help in putting the leadership structure in order, and enable things to function properly.
“The leadership structure of NDDC in the past years had been faulty, and that was why the President said there should be forensic audit, which would be used to do a wholistic review of the organogram of NDDC, so that it can function properly.
“The new board is coming soon, but the whole process will pass through the National Assembly to be cleared”, Eradiri said.
On the achievement of the present NDDC management, the special adviser said that the Effiong Akwa led administration had recorded some landmark achievements compared to the last 25 years.
He said that the present interim management within two years completed and commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC, which had been left for over 25 years.
He also said that the completion of the East-West road project had intensified under the present management, adding that NDDC has also supported states on sanitation through donation of trucks.
Eradiri, however, admitted that the present interim management had not taken a firm stand on agricultural development even though it has been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
“I believe that the only tool to use and get ourselves out of the quagmire we find ourselves is agriculture, and I think that the NDDC can design its own scheme on how to grow agriculture as a deliberate policy.
“This will bring change that will grow the region’s economy. We must talk about agricultural processing, and we can put palm oil into sachet, and even students can be buying them,” he said.
By: Corlins Walter
Nigeria Lost N851bn To Oil Theft, Sabotage – NEITI
Nigeria lost N851.84bn ($2.78bn) to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in 2019, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said.
NEITI said this in its latest oil and gas industry audit report.
NEITI stated that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange rate of N306.42/$ .
It, however, noted that there was a significant reduction of 21 per cent from the previous year, where 53.28 million barrels were lost.
Losses such as these are recorded by companies whose crude volumes are carried through pipelines easily compromised by saboteurs.
The report also stated that some oil terminals recorded no production. These included Aja operated by Bayelsa Oil, whose license was revoked by the government.
Others were Asaramatoru and Oyo managed by Prime and Allied/CAMAC who were reportedly inactive for the year.
Nigeria earned a total of N10.49tn ($34.22bn) from crude oil and gas sales. This was a marginal 4.88 per cent increase from 2018 revenues of N9.99tn ($32.63bn).
The total crude oil production recorded was 735.24 million barrels, a 4.87per cent increase from 701.10 million barrels reported in 2018.
A total of N2.145tn ($7.011bn) was the domestic sales proceeds in 2019 from 107.24 million barrels of crude oil. This was 0.36 per cent lower than the domestic crude sales of 107.63 million barrels in 2018.
Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies
Some residents in the 23 local government areas of Rivers State have urged the newly sworn-in council chairmen in the state to come up with good agricultural and developmental policies that will transform the grassroots.
They also urged the council boss to take pragmatic steps and actions towards tackling security challenges to encourage business activities thrive in their domains.
Some of the residents who spoke with The Tide at the weekend, noted that the local government administration in the state had not faired well in terms of real development in recent times, and urged the new council helmsmen to change the narratives.
A resident of Emohua Local Government Area, Mr Charles Amadi, noted that no real development had taken place in the area, lamenting the dearth of companies and small scale industries in the area.
He, therefore, called on the new chairman, Dr. Chidi Lyoid, not to solely depend on the monthly allocation, but to go all out to attract small scale companies to the area so as to create employment opportunities as well as generate revenue for the council.
He also urged the new chairman to invest in agriculture, especially farming and fishing.
On his part, Mr Ebenezer Otamiri who lives in Etche, urged the Etche council boss, Obinna Ayanwu, to consolidate on the achievements recorded in his first tenure, especially by building more markets for the people, as well as initiate good agricultural policy to drive the economy of the area.
He also urged the council boss to tackle the issue of electricity and security in the area, saying electricity and security are key to the development of the area.
In his own charge, Mr Mene Geoffrey Dekaa who hails from Bori in Khana Local Government Area of the state, called on his new council chairman, Bariere Thomas, to show capacity and competence in the area of security.
He noted that the issue of security has left native imprint in the development of the area, saying many investors have left Bori, the headquarters of the council, for other places.
“Because of security challenges, many people have left Bori to build houses and invest in Nonwa- Tai, and Eleme.
“Areas like Kono-Boweeh communities are no go areas, as people there can hardly sleep. So if the chairman can work with government recognised traditional rulers and security agents, security issues will be tackled, and people’s confidence will be restored, and business activities will move on”, he said.
By: Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies
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