Nigerian workers have been charged to challenge Federal Government’s excessive taxation of the working class.
The President of the Non- Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Chris Ani, in his address at the Seventh Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the union held in Abuja last week lamented that the government’s tax burden is crushing Nigerian workers.
Ani said Federal Government has
economically overburdened workers with various insensitivity taxes.
He said, “Workers have been consigned by the Federal and State Governments, under the weight of the burdened of over taxation. As if such burdens are not enough, new tax burdens are being introduced daily by the present government. “The increase in Value Added Tax and the increases in the charges of withdrawals and deposits by the Central Bank of Nigeria to say the least are very provocative to a workforce that is already over burdened with excessive PAYE tax.”
He noted that the tax system in Nigeria is not broad base as it is very clear that only workers pay taxes in the country.
He explained that the two principles of taxation which are Adequacy states that taxes should be just enough to generate revenue required for provision of essential public services.
While the Broad base principle calls for taxes to be spread over as wide as possible to section of the population, or sectors of economy, to minimise the individual tax burden.
He however said that the Federal and State Governments are only interested with the first principle that is adequacy and have jettisoned the second principle of spreading taxation in order to minimise individual tax burden.
The NASU President said it is unacceptable that the country is ever ready to give tax concessions and tax holidays to business while increasing taxes that affect workers adversely.
“The Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) has indicated government’s intention to cap it up with what he calls communication tax because according to him, Nigerians talk a lot.
“These mindless taxation is carried out to prove to Bretton Wood Institutions and other foreign lenders, that the country can internally generate sufficient revenue to settle the every increasing foreign debts,” he stated.
Speaking further on the theme of the Conference, “Funding Education, Health, Research Institutions and Other Social Services in a Depressed Economy: Challenges and Prospects”, Ani said the Union has played and continue to play a critical role in struggles aimed at ensuring that governments at all levels adequately fund educational, health and research institutions.
He stated, “We do this, conscious of the fact that the neglect of the funding of our public health and educational institutions is at the heart of endemic poverty among workers and the masses of this nation.
“Our public office holders are no longer concern with the state of public health and educational institutions as they and members of their families have since lost faith in these institutions.
‘They rather have opted to patronising privately funded health and educational institutions at home and abroad, at great cost to taxpayers of this nation.”