By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has opposed to the recent move by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to charge property owners and their agents 6 percent stamp duty on all tenancy and lease agreements they enter into with all leases, and remit promptly to the Service.
The TUC said it viewed the move as another ploy to further impoverish Nigerians.
In a statement jointly issued yesterday and signed by TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Musa-Lawal, the union urged the federal government to immediately order FIRS to stay action if it does not want to incur the wrath of workers and Nigerians.
“We are calling on the federal government to immediately order the FIRS to stay action if it does not want to incur the wrath of workers and Nigerians,” it said.
According to the TUC’s statement, “Sometimes we wonder if there is any milk of human kindness left in our leaders. Should enforcement of stamp duty on house rent and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) be on priority list of the FIRS at a time the country is experiencing housing deficit and millions of Nigerians have lost their jobs?”
TUC said there are countries that are still giving out palliatives to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that some of the countries, apart from giving out palliatives, also took responsibility of the utility bills like power, water, data among others.
“We read that Ghanaians 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, among others, and if they again add 6 percent 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?”