Alakija: Raising VAT Will Hurt Entrepreneurs

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Folorunso Alakija

Sunday Ehigiator

The Group Managing Director of Rose of Sharon Group Executive Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil, Mrs. Folorunso Alakija has warned against increasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) from its current five per cent to 7.5 per cent that had been proposed by the federal government.

She made this known during an interview with THISDAY, at the graduation ceremony of 67 students from the Folorunso Alakija Skills Acquisition Center situated inside the College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos.

According to her, “Increasing VAT will make it more difficult for entrepreneurs to be able to make as much money as they would have liked to.

“But it is also what the government need for nation-building, because it is tax that the government earns as income. Without tax, no government can really stand on its legs. So long that it is being ploughed back into the areas where they are needed and they are not growing wings.”

Responding to questions on challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the country, she identified electricity as a major constraint.

According to her, “The problem of entrepreneurs in Nigeria is majorly electricity as far as I am concerned. It is not money, because we have seen the likes of a woman who started her company with N1,000 and can now boast of millions of naira in her account as a result of starting small, and building on where she started.

“So it is not the money, but electricity, because there is hardly any businesses you are going to do as an entrepreneur that you don’t need electricity. We all need electricity.

“The federal government should give us electricity, however, they are going to do it. That is what the people need. We need it so badly because it is affecting our economy.

“When outsiders and investors from other parts of the world think of which country to go and invest in, they would stop to think about electricity, it is a hindrance. So, the federal government should give us electricity.”

Commenting on her skill acquisition centre and the impact it was making on the country, she said, “This is an opportunity that God has brought their (the graduates) way.

“And they have to realise that it is a one-off opportunity that many prayed for, but never get at times. And they have been privileged, and because they have been privileged, they have to make the most of it by focusing on what they have learnt and putting it in good use.

“This is how they are going to earn their bread and butter to be able to feed their families in future. So they mustn’t take it likely. And because it was handed to them on a platter of gold doesn’t mean that they should squander it.”