By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has reacted to the bill to enact a law to impose a communication service tax meant to replace the Federal Government’s proposed 2.5 percentage increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT), describing it as less burdensome on the masses.
The CNPP also threw its weight behind a suggestion by former governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha that Nigeria should adopt a reduced Parliamentarian representation from each state of the federation as part of efforts to decrease government’s running costs.
According to the umbrella body of all registered political parties and political associations in country, in a statement issued on Wednesday by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the bill tagged “Communication Service Tax Bill, 2019” being sponsored by former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume is a lesser evil compared to the impact of a 2.5 percent increase in VAT, which will raise payable VAT to 7.5 percent.
“For us, the Bill proposing levy on electronic communication services like Voice Calls, SMS, MMS, Data usage and Pay per View TV Stations is a lesser evil. The impact on the ordinary citizens will be less burdensome than the proposed 7.5 percent VAT the federal government wants to slam on the already impoverished masses of Nigeria.
“We totally agree with Senator Ndume that the bill would rather enhance distribution of wealth where ordinary Nigerians would benefit than impoverish the masses the more as VAT increment will not only affect the economy negatively but will further reduce the purchasing power of the poorest of Nigerians”, the CNPP observed.
Reacting to the proposed reduction of the numbers of legislative representatives from states at the National Assembly, the CNPP noted that “Senator Okorocha was telling nothing but the truth when he canvassed that one Senator is enough to represent a state at the legislative chamber.
“Like Senator Okorocha, said what is too sacrosanct that Senators and House of Representatives members were doing that only senator per state could not do?
“We therefore urge Senator Okorocha to urgently sponsor a Bill for the amendment of relevant sections of the constitution in line with his thoughts to conserve funds for capital projects to the benefit of poor Nigerians”, the CNPP advised.