By Anozie Egole
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has said the increase of Tertiary Education Tax from 2.5 per cent to three per cent amid the prevailing economic situation being faced by businesses is worrisome.
The Director-General, NECA, Mr Adewale Oyerinde, in a statement on Tuesday, said that while organised businesses were still faced with a burdensome number of taxes, the Finance Bill sought to add additional burden on businesses.
Oyerinde expressed concern at some provisions of the Finance Bill, and also commended the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) for not signing the Bill into law.
“It is worrisome that the Tertiary Education Tax was increased from 2.5 per cent to three per cent without legacy regard for current economic situation faced by businesses,” he said.
The NECA DG however noted that organised businesses were currently burdened with over 50 different taxes, levies and fees (both legally and illegally).
He said, “These taxes include Company Income Tax, Stamp Duties, Petroleum Profit Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Value Added Tax, Personal Income Tax, Withholding tax, Tertiary Education Tax, one per cent of payroll contribution to NSITF, 10 per cent of payroll contribution to PenCom, one per cent of payroll ITF levy, national information development levy, cabotage levy, radio and TV licences, police special trust fund tax levy, Niger-Delta Development Commission Levy, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure levy, land use charge, parking fee, consumption tax, road tax, Standard Organization of Nigeria fees, Nigeria Content Development levy, NAFDAC levy, Nigeria Health Insurance Authority contribution, signage fees e.tc. Increasing the Tertiary Education Tax is another burden too much.”
The director-general said increasing CIT rate for a gas-flaring company from the standard 30 per cent to 50 per cent was also worrisome, considering the fact the companies were already covered in the Petroleum Industry Act.
He said, “This could be a recipe for further divestment. Also, the imposition of excise duty at rates to be specified via presidential order on all services including telecommunication services is too broad and vague.
“This could be subject to abuse and further strangulation of the business community. It is absurd that the National Assembly would consider and pass the Finance Bill in an unusual manner.” He added, “While the Senate ambushed stakeholders, inviting them for a public hearing in less than 24 hours, the House of Representatives scheduled its hearing for January, 2023. It was surprising that the National Assembly would pass such important Bill without the input and contributions of critical stakeholders.
“We urge the President to request the National Assembly to do the needful by taking into cognisance the concerns of organised business and expunge all anti-business provisions in the Bill.”
Source: The Punch