By Ese Awhotu
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on Thursday called on the Federal Government to halt further action on the planned increase in Value Added Tax(VAT).
Tinubu, who spoke at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium to mark his 67th birthday in Abuja, stated that hiking VAT would further impoverished the poor who would bear the brunt of the increase.
His words; “Consumers’ spending is slipping, and this is where I will stop and appeal to Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President, and his team to put a huge question mark on any increase of VAT, please,” the former governor pleaded.
“If we reduce the purchasing power of the people, we can further slowdown the economy,” he added.
However, Tinubu suggested another way to go about raising revenue, saying that, “Let’s widen the tax net. Those who are not paying now, if it is inclusive of Bola Tinubu, let the net get bigger and we take in more taxes and that is what we must do in the country, instead of the additional layer of tax.”
According to him, Nigeria is still in the process of defining itself politically and economically.
He emphasized that , increase in VAT would not help the ordinary man in the country, stressing that those in charge of generating revenue for the country must begin to think of other sources of revenue.
Earlier, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode said that Tinubu with “undoubted political courage’’ spearheaded the ruling party to victory in recent the national elections.
He said that APC won at the national and state levels.
Ambode said that Asiwaju Tinubu had been a key to the successes and progress recorded by the current administration.
Tinubu, he said, was also going to be part of the success of Nigeria in years to come.
“We are here today to celebrate the coming down.’’
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and many other dignitaries attended the colloquium.
Commenting on “Nigeria’s Industrialisation Policy’’, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, unveiled the administration’s plans to spur the country’s industrialisation and growth.
He listed Eyimba Industrial City, Lekki Modern Industrial Park and Funtua Cotton Cluster as major projects to grow Nigeria.
The Eyimba city in Abia state, he said, covered 9,500 hectares of land. The master plan has been completed.
The partners in the project included South Africa, United Arab Emirate, China, African Export-Import Bank.
He reported that the power project for electricity had been put in place and the zone would create 625,000 jobs.
The Lekki park is occupying 1,000 hectares of land designed to handle export of manufactured goods. The feasibility study of the zone has been prepared, he said.
The Funtua cotton cluster, he said would pull more than 8,000 farmers together to restore cotton production and value chain as well as produce feeds for animals and spur textile industry.
The zone, he said, would attract more than $2 billion investment.