The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) yesterday joined other stakeholders to reject the recent order by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to property owners and their agents to charge 6 percent Stamp Duty on all tenancy and lease agreements.
TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, said the Congress vehemently rejects the FIRS order as it views the move as another ploy to further impoverish Nigerians.
“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?,” he queried.
Olaleye noted that till date, several countries are still giving out palliatives to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to him, some countries, apart from giving out palliatives also took responsibility of the citizens utility bills including power, water and data among others.
He stated, “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, electricity, security, to mention but a few. Now, if they again add 6 per cent 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?
“Why task the people more when you have not managed the loans collected from various sources, revenue from multiple taxes, VAT, money from fuel hike?”
He stated it was shameful that FIRS is asking for such at a time the tax payers’ money is being mismanaged by agencies of government, listing the NSITF and NDDC currently being probed by the National Assembly over financial impropriety as clear examples.
“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,” he lamented.
The TUC boss therefore called 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.
He added, “Government should make use of the recovered loot and also widen the tax net to include a larger 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 government, not individuals. Government must get serious with governance, and stop inflicting unnecessary pains on Nigerians.”