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Published On: Fri, Oct 4th, 2019

Leave the poor, tax the rich, Ndume tells FG

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…opposes increase in VAT

By Lawrence Olaoye

Former Senate Leader and incumbent Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Ali Ndume, has called the federal government not to further impoverish the poor by slamming taxes on them.
The lawmaker who spoke to newsmen yesterday after a meeting with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa behind the closed door said the government should stop the plan to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 to 7.2 percent.
Ndume tasked the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to consider other sources of tax that will affect the rich minority in the country.
He specifically urged the government to exact tax on property owners who are rich in the society. He said “Let me add one thing, yes we have a government; the tax should be paid by those who can; who should or can afford that tax.
“Like in Abuja now, you see so much property; if you value them, property tax is something not paid; I am not paying too simply because nobody is paying; nobody asked me to pay.
“In Nigeria, for example, the resources is in the hands of few people; why don’t you tax these few people instead of going to tax the poor man that is trying to survive.
So, this is my position and I think this Communications Service Tax is part of it; ask those that can afford telephone, 60 million of them; why do tax 200 million people? Tax the 60 people that can afford it and you get what you want.”
He also recommended that the government should introduce communication tax just as he backed the government plans to return toll fees at national highways.
Ndume who is also the sponsor of the Bill for an Act to establish the Communication Service Tax, which he formally introduced on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday and has passed first reading, said “I feel that increase in VAT is going to have a spiral effect; and it is going to affect the poor more.
“It is true the government is not expanding the revenue base or the tax.., that is why I am thinking that anybody that is using telephone here would want to just talk and pay for it of course but right now, none of you will say this is what I am paying for telephone; if it tells you one minute remaining, you start looking for any recharge card.
“But if you are tasked on that, you won’t say you don’t want to talk again because you are tasked.

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