Organised Labour yesterday demanded immediate suspension of all taxes paid by the workers in the country to save them from degenerating further into abject poverty.
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) said the burden of excessive and multiple taxation has impoverished the average worker in the country.
Its General Secretary, Peters Adeyemi, lamented that the salaries and wages paid to the workers can no longer be regarded as living wage as they have become slave wages, forcing the NASU members to live below internationally declared poverty line.
“It is only NASU members and other workers as well as the downtrodden masses of this country that pay taxes. The whole issue is compounded by the absence of any social security safety net in the country and the fact that they are not counted among the 10,695,360 individual households which the Federal Government declared as poor as at February 29, 2020, which disqualified them from the conditional cash transfers of the Federal Government. The reason is that our poverty ridden members are erroneously termed to be gainfully employed,” he said.
Adeyemi said the excessive and multiple taxation being imposed on members of NASU has become a very unbearable burden that is too heavy for them to bear.
According to him, these excessive and multiple taxes are being imposed by the Federal and state governments without being sensitive to the plight of workers. “These taxes include income tax, value added tax, bank charges tax, communications tax as well as the National Housing Fund. On several occasions, we have had cause to talk to the governments about the negative effect of these taxes and their excessive nature on our members’ welfare,” he stated.
The NASU scribe said the desire of governments at the states and federal levels to help the economy through imposition of excessive and multiple taxation is causing unbearable hardship among the members as a result of inadequate incomes, high prices of goods, homelessness, poverty and loss of purchasing power.
He lamented that since the commencement of the National Housing Fund in 1992, not up to 10 per cent of federal public servants have been able to access the fund, the situation which he said has caused NASU members to rename the Fund as “National Housing Fraud”.
He maintained that it is only workers that pay taxes in Nigeria as big businesses get tax exemptions and tax holidays, do not pay house rents nor communications tax. which are all footed by their organisations.