The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Ayuba Wabba, has warned the Federal Government against any attempt or means to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT). Wabba, represented by NLC Deputy National President and President of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr. Nasiru Idris and Ibrahim Walama, stated this yesterday at the 11th state delegates’ congresses of Kano and Kaduna chapters of the NLC. He vowed that any move by government to mull such policy would be rejected.
He also urged immediate implementation of new minimum wage of N30,000. In a related vein, experts at the ongoing yearly conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) have urged the Federal Government to tread cautiously in its plan to increase VAT, urging it to look into expanding its tax base to the informal sector. The experts, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, said the informal and electronic sector still remained untapped and it could triple the current VAT collection. A tax expert, J. K. Eniayeju, the past president of CITN, said that increase in VAT at the present time would send an uproar to the business community and it would have a negative effect on Nigeria’s economy. But the Executive Director of the Kano State Inland Revenue Service, Sani Abdulkadri Dambo, said the issue of VAT increment must be give and take wherein the consumption income tax and the company income tax are reduced and the VAT is increased, saying that by so doing, the public can be easily convinced. Other participants urged the government that rather than increase VAT, the economy should be stimulated to attract investors. Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, his Plateau State counterpart, Simon Bako Lalong, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State have pledged to pay the new national minimum wage of N30,000 recently assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari. The governors, who spoke at the NLC delegates’ conference, noted that the workers constitute the backbone of government who should be encouraged in their duty. Ortom and Akeredolu urged the government to review the revenue allocation sharing formula in favour of states to facilitate the smooth implementation of the new minimum wage. Lalong, who spoke at the NLC delegates’ conference in Jos, represented by his Special Adviser on Labour, who also was the immediate past chairman of NLC, Jibrin Bancir, noted that the workers constitute the backbone of government who should be encouraged in their duty.