By Toba Agboola
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has urged the Federal Government to fashion a uniform tax policy that will favour the development of businesses and drive production costs down.
Its President, Comrade Michael Ndukaku Ohaeri said the three tiers of government collect many taxes, adding that these have significant cost implications on businesses and create uncertainty for intending investors.
“Multiple taxation is understood to include both incidences of double taxation whereby the same asset or event is taxed multiple times by different jurisdictions and multiplicity of small, nuisance taxes. Multiple taxation creates a hostile business environment in any economy.
“There are several taxes collected by the federal, state and local governments in Nigeria. These taxes have significant cost implications on businesses and create uncertainty for intending investors. It has been discovered that tax-related issues are responsible for the untimely closure of several businesses in Nigeria.
“We implore the government to come up with a uniform tax policy that will favour the development of businesses in Nigeria and drive down the cost of production,” he said.
Ohaeri said the digital economy is becoming the most innovative and widest- reaching economy.
He said most businesses require little or no physical presence to operate.
He said: “While the Nigerian tax authorities are working towards ensuring the digitalisation of the tax collection process, such must be extended to cover effective monitoring and taxation of digital transactions.”
Ohaeri urged the government to hasten its steps on the diversification of the economy.
He said: “As a matter of priority, the government must encourage the diversification of the economy. Diversification presents the most competitive and strategic option for the nation in view of our developmental challenges and the global economic uncertainty with the volatility of oil prices.
“The government should come up with better initiatives including tax breaks that will drive agriculture and agro-based industries, solid minerals and tourism.
“We should also aim at harnessing the energies of our entrepreneurial youth by creating an enabling business environment for small and medium scale enterprises to thrive. Nigeria must be made an easier place to do business.”