Lagos – The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has vehemently rejected the recent directive by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to property owners and their agents to charge 6% Stamp Duty on all tenancy and lease agreements they enter into and to remit same promptly to the Service.
The TUC described the directive as another ploy to further impoverish Nigerians.
In a statement, the President, TUC, Comrade Quadri Olaleye queried if enforcement of stamp duty on house rent and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) should be on the priority list of the FIRS at a time the country is experiencing housing deficit and millions of Nigerians having lost their jobs and also wondered if there was any milk of kindness left in the leadership of the country.
‘’Till date there are countries that are still giving out palliatives to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Some countries, apart from giving out palliatives, also took responsibility for utility bills; like power, water, data, etc. We read that Ghanians will not be paying for power throughout this year. Why is our case always different? Why increase our burden now?’’
‘’There are many bills Nigerians pay without enjoying commensurate services. Already, tenants pay rent, agreement, caution, maintenance, LAWMA, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), security, etc. if they again add 6% charge on rent it makes nonsense of the new minimum wage which many states are not even paying. How do we feed our families and pay school fees? The country needs money, no doubt, but do you cut the nose to spite your face?’’ he fumed.
Olaleye reiterated that, what is the basis of taxing the citizens more, when loans collected, revenue from multiple taxes, VAT, money from fuel hike, etc. are not well managed.
He said, it is shameful that FIRS is asking for such at a time the tax payers’ money is being mismanaged by agencies of government, he added that ‘’NSITF and NDDC are currently being probed by the National Assembly over financial impropriety and the question is, have they managed the trillions of naira that daily accrue to the federation account well? Why must the poor be squeezed just to enrich those in government’’
The Trade Union urged the federal government to immediately order the FIRS to stay action if it does not want to incur the wrath of workers and Nigerians, as government should make use of the recovered loot and also widen the tax net to include a large number of the rich if the country really desperately needs money.
‘’Nigerians are already down and should not be further pressured. Also, the mineral deposits all over the country should be explored by the government, not individuals. Government must get serious with governance, and stop inflicting unnecessary pain on Nigerians’’ he said.