The Performing Musicians Employers Association, the umbrella body of musicians in Nigeria, has rejected the new five per cent tax introduced by the Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board.
A report published by the News Agency of Nigeria quoted the Executive Secretary, Bamidele Balogun, as giving operators a 30-day notice to duly register their contents with the body.
Balogun said, “Practitioners and stakeholders are also informed that henceforth, all audio and visual contents produced and sold within Lagos State shall attract the payment of five per cent levy on each item.
“This exercise will, however, assist the Lagos State Government in policy formulation, with regard to planning and funding for the sector.
“All practitioners and stakeholders in the entertainment sector within the state are advised to comply with this directive and cooperate with the authorised agent of the board.”
The agency also claimed to have come up with the decision after due consultation with PMAN.
However, the President of PMAN, Pretty Okafor, rejected the new directive, adding that entertainers already pay income tax like other Nigerians.
Okafor also said PMAN was not collaborating with the LSFVCB to fleece entertainers of five per cent of their hard-earned money.
The PMAN President said his organisation was not part of the arrangement, adding that they would soon take legal action.
He said, “Who are the people teaming with the film and censor’s board to do that? That is an illegality upon illegality.
“The board was wrong to have met with some people who claimed to be from PMAN. This is a plot to defraud people or impose double taxation.
“So, that will not stand and our lawyers will write them soon. Who did they negotiate with? Definitely not with us because we will never defraud people. Why are they taxing content producers when they are already paying personal income tax and VAT?
“Why are they charging five per cent? Does it even make sense? The agency doesn’t even have the authority to tax anybody. Why would people just gather and decide to perpetrate fraud?”
Meanwhile, the National Film and Video Censors Board which is the Federal Government agency tasked with the responsibility of classifying, censoring and registering movies, described the new directive of the state government as a joke.
The Executive Director of the NFVCB, Adedayo Thomas, said in a response to a text message, “It is a joke and a sign of idleness.”
Lagos State is regarded as the entertainment capital of the country.
The entertainment sector is one of the largest employers of labour in the country according to the Federal Government.