The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has voiced its strong opposition to the six per cent stamp duty on tenancy and lease agreement in the country; and rejected the new policy by the Federal Government through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Describing the six per cent tenancy and lease stamp duty policy as boldly insensitive, the NLC said it expected its reversal and called on the Federal Government and the FIRS to immediately rescind the harsh fiscal measure.
The NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said the congress condemned the six per cent stamp duty, saying that the policy would worsen the deplorable situation faced by Nigerian workers most of who are tenants.
Wabba said: “This new financial burden on poor Nigerians comes at a time when the socio-economic pressure arising from COVID-19 dislocations is pushing many Nigerians beyond the limits.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress rejects this new stamp duty policy on rents and leases as it would worsen the deplorable situation faced by Nigerian workers most of who, unfortunately, are tenants. It is also alarming that we are having a rash of hike in taxes and user access fees when other countries are offering palliatives to their citizens.
“We call on the Federal Government and the Federal Inland Revenue Service to rescind this harsh fiscal measure as it is boldly insensitive to the material condition of Nigerians which has been compounded by the COVID-19 health insurgency. Nobody would want to be a tenant if they had an alternative.
“This means that tenants, which this new policy targets, are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It would be illogical, insensitive and inhumane to churn out laws that make our poor go to bed at night with tears in their eyes.
“The principle of public taxation, especially progressive taxation, all over the world is that the rich subsidize for the poor. Every tax policy that would be enforceable must create a safety net for the poor. Recent policies of government indicate otherwise.
“Accommodation is a fundamental right guaranteed by Nigeria’s constitution. It is unimaginable that tenants who are in the most vulnerable group would be expected to pay six per cent tax for accommodation when sales tax is 1.5 per cent. This is indeed a great injustice against the Nigerian poor.”
It added: “While we expect the reversal of the six per cent tenancy and lease stamp duty policy, we remind the government that its highest responsibility is to ensure the security and welfare of every Nigerian. It is a social contract. It is a sacred duty.”
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