Emma Okonji and Nosa Alekhuogie
The Lagos State Chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has opposed the introduction of stamp duty tax for tenancy rates by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), insisting that the timing is wrong, and it’s targeted at the poor masses.
According to NLC, the introduction was wrongly timed since this is a period where the country is supposed to grant palliatives to its citizens and not add financial burdens to the already chaotic situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chairman of the NLC, Lagos State Chapter, Chief Agnes Sessi, who was a guest on ARISE News channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, expressed her concern over the move, stating that the federal government is putting financial burden on poor Nigerians during the pandemic.
According to her, “This is a time in which the socio-economic pressure arising from COVID-19 has already dislocated and pushed so many Nigerians beyond their limits. So many people have lost their daily means of livelihood due to the pandemic, and many salaries have also been cut. It is also worthy to note that the government, which is now adding burden to the workers and Nigerians, haven’t implemented the minimum wage. I am wondering why the leadership in this country will want to worsen the situation of the poor masses through the ill-timing stamp duty tax.”
Sessi went further to state that the NLC is objecting to the tax being imposed at this period “because the government is very insensitive to the plight of the vulnerable group who are the poor masses in the country.”
According to her, “The government is simply pushing more of the financial burdens on the poor Nigerians as their target is the poor and vulnerable regardless of whatever percentage it is being set out. This is an attempt to punish the average Nigerians.
“Accommodation is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the constitution, and it is unimaginable that tenants would be expected to pay six per cent tax for accommodation at this particular time.
“Other countries are ensuring that at this particular period, there are no economic hardships for their citizens but our government is adding to the hardship of the workers.”