By Adedapo Adesanya
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has welcomed the declaration by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to harmonise tax policy within the territory to ease the burden of multiple taxation on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
This was disclosed by ACCI president, Mr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, who said the decision, confirmed the FCT Minister, Mr Muhammad Bello, acknowledged the challenges faced by businesses within the territory due to series of levies, charges and taxes from the Federal Government, FCTA and Area Council Administration.
Mr Abubakar noted that, “Multiple taxation within the FCT and the larger national economy has imposed crippling consequences on businesses. The fallout has been many failed businesses, the rising level of inflation, the non-thriving of existing ones and the lack of capacity to engage much-unemployed youth.
“We want to note that lower taxes when also harmonised enhance the prosperity of the economy. As an SME nation, expanding the base and health of the business sector is a smart choice to exit recession and adjust to the pandemic economic disruption.
“It is thus gratifying to note that FCTA is taking the lead to ease the tax burden on SMEs. Such an action will have a multiplier effect on the FCT economy, leading to more job creation and reduction of the poverty rate.”
“The path of lower taxation to speed up the growth of the economy is a tested tool that has helped many economies. Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, old Hong Kong, Russia, Australia, and Israel are some of the non-western countries that have, in the last 100 years, managed to move their countries from developing to developed economies through a combination of lower tax rate and high tax base.
“The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry is of the view that governments at all level should focus on increasing the tax base rather than the tax rate,” he added.
He noted that the tax policy reform being contemplated by the FCT administration is of direct significance and interest to the ACCI and expressed readiness to identify and work with the FCTA to accomplish the objectives.
“According to official data, as a percentage of GDP, Nigeria taxes represent 6.1 per cent, one of the lowest in the world. The tax-to-GDP ratio in South Africa was 29 per cent, Ghana 18 per cent, Egypt 15 per cent and Kenya 18 per cent says the OECD in a 2019 report.
“More businesses and citizens should be brought under the tax regime albeit with reduced and well-harmonised rates that are devoid of multiple taxations.
“We want to note that the tax policy reform being contemplated by the FCT administration is of direct significance and interest to us at the ACCI. Our members are negatively impacted by multiple taxation. The economy of the Territory is also stunted by this crippling tax regime. It is therefore our pleasure to identify and work with the FCTA to accomplish these noble objectives.
“We consequently call on the FCTA to engage critical stakeholders in this very laudable reform. This will ensure that all relevant inputs are integrated before the finalisation of the reform plan. The ACCI is ready to provide interactive policy reform platform in support of the process,” he said.
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