The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture has warned that President Muhammadu Buhari regime’s tax policy will kill small businesses and called for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) tax appeal practice direction’s suspension.
NACCIMA made the call in a statement signed by its director-general Ayoola Olukanni, following a resolution at its third council meeting in Akure on Thursday.
If the tax practice direction, said NACCIMA, which compels companies to pay 50 per cent of assessed tax to FIRS before any appeal to contest the assessment, was allowed, most businesses in the private sector would collapse.
“Feelers from the organised private sector indicate that many businesses have been struggling to survive an unfriendly business environment which has been made even more difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the NACCIMA statement explained. “The council is convinced that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) which are currently the bedrock of the economy and provide most of the employment will certainly be wost hard hit and cannot survive the implementation of practice direction.”
It pointed out that some of the policy’s provisions “require enforcement and forfeiture” of “immovable property,” freezing of a taxpayer’s bank account, and sealing of their premises.
“With such action, many of them (MSMEs) will go under and collapse under the weight of these provisions of the FIRS practice direction,” warned the association. “The council, therefore, calls for immediate suspension of its implementation to enable a robust stakeholders’ engagement with the relevant authorities for a revision of the tax practice direction and other onerous tax matters.”