WorldStage Newsonline– The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has announced the rejection of the recent order by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to property owners and their agents to charge 6% Stamp Duty on all tenancy and lease agreements they enter into with all leases and remit promptly to the Service.
In a statement signed by Comrade Quadri A. Olaleye, President, TUC and Comrade Musa-Lawal, Secretary General, TUC, the Congress viewed this move as another ploy to further impoverish Nigerians.
According to the statement, “Sometimes we wonder if there is any milk of kindness left in our leadership. 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?
“Till date there are countries that are still giving out palliatives to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Some countries, apart from giving out palliatives also took responsibility of the utility bills; like power, water, data, etc. 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, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), security, etc.; if they again add 6% 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; revenue from multiple taxes, VAT, money from fuel hike, etc. well? It is shameful that FIRS is asking for such at a time the tax payers’ money is being mismanaged by agencies of government. The NSITF and NDDC are currently being probed by the National Assembly over financial impropriety. 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.
“We are calling 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. Government should make use of the recovered loot and also widen the tax net to include a large 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.”