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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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HomeNationalBuhari imposing new taxes on Nigerians self-destructive, counter-productive, NECA warns

Buhari imposing new taxes on Nigerians self-destructive, counter-productive, NECA warns

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has described the country’s economic challenges as multi-faceted and called for a holistic and multi-pronged approach to resolving them.

In a statement on Sunday, NECA’s director-general Wale Oyerinde said there was no better time for President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to reappraise current economic policies and deepen its engagement with the organised private sector.

‘’The nation is currently faced with multiple challenges: a dire combination of spiralling inflation; rising energy cost; scarcity of foreign exchange (forex); the dwindling value of the naira, and an almost comatose aviation sector. Also, a stuttering education system; rising debt; depleting foreign reserves and rising fuel subsidy expenses, among others, threaten to lay bare the country’s economy,” stressed the NECA boss.

According to him, the government’s effort to salvage the economy is commendable but requires a more holistic approach to resuscitate the stuttering economy.

The NECA director-general noted that Nigeria had always lived dangerously on the precipice, with a major chunk of its revenue dependent on the complexities of global crude demand and supply.

“In April 2022, the World Bank warned that the rising cost of fuel subsidy could significantly impact public finance and pose debt sustainability concerns: alas, this projection is almost happening. The fiscal performance report released recently by the government confirmed the accuracy of these projections,” Mr Oyerinde pointed out.

He further mentioned that the combination of a struggling aviation sector and roads taken over by bandits had conspired to fuel the situation, leading to rising inflation at 18.6 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

‘’These have continued to worsen the promotion of commerce and the increase the rate of de-industrialisation of some regions of the country,” he said.

Mr Oyerinde, therefore, called for the commencement of a deliberate and economic-priority-influenced approach and wide consultation with stakeholders.

This, according to him, should be with the view of harvesting alternative policy options to re-energise all sectors of the economy.

The NECA chief warned, ‘’While the challenges of revenue shortage are acknowledged, burdening businesses with new taxes or levies will be counter-productive and self-destructive action. Over-burdening already burdened businesses will only lead to business closure and an escalation of job losses with consequential effect on our social and economic stability.”

He also urged Mr Buhari’s regime to, in the short term, widen the tax net, reduce wastage in governance, and focus on economic projects that will stimulate the Nigerian economy and guarantee an enabling environment for businesses to operate.

He noted that an enabling environment for local businesses would create the platform for new foreign direct investment, which could increase foreign exchange inflow into the country.

The NECA director-general also urged the regime to fix the four national refineries and encourage the development of modular ones as a precursor to the total removal of fuel subsidy.

He also encouraged the regime to implement interventions aimed at improving living standards to stimulate consumption and enterprise sustainability to promote job creation.

‘’While forex scarcity persists, allocation of the available forex to manufacturing and other productive sectors of the economy should be given priority,” Mr Oyerinde stated.

(NAN)

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