Economy

Tinubu to reduce taxes from 200 to 10, no plan to indiscriminately increase taxes – TMSG

 

The Tinubu Media Support Group (TMSG) has said that contrary to viral disinformation in the public space, there are no signs that the President Bola Tinubu administration has been increasing or intends to increase taxes indiscriminately.

In fact, President Tinubu has been working relentlessly to reduce the burden of multiple taxation on Nigerians. The net effect of the President’s move will benefit 95 per cent of the populace, the group has insisted.

This was contained in a press statement issued and signed by its Chairman Emeka Nwankpa and Secretary Dapo Okubanjo today in Abuja.

TMSG said: “We have noticed how, in recent times, certain elements have been making conscious efforts to misinform Nigerians and create a wrong perception about the Tinubu administration in the public space.

“These spurious and frivolous media propaganda are dubious and uncalled for. No new taxes are being contemplated or let alone, increasing existing ones. We make bold to say that there is no truth to those narratives. They are indeed lies told and spread to malign President Bola Tinubu and his administration.

The group emphatically argued that the administration has in fact been working on reducing the tax burden of 95% of Nigerians involved in the informal sector.

“For the avoidance of doubt, President Tinubu, soon after assuming office set up a Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee with a mandate to increase the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio from the current 10.86% to 18% in the next two to three years without introducing new taxes. Yes, without introducing new taxes.

“Within its first few months in operation, the committee headed by Taiwo Oyedele, a tested tax expert, revealed that Nigerians have been paying 60 official and 200 unofficial taxes across all levels of government and expressed Federal government’s readiness to reduce them to 10.

“And while we agree that small businesses have, over the years, been struggling with multiple taxation from different government agencies at all levels, we also know that the Presidential committee has recommended that those earning ₦25m and less annually should be exempted from paying all forms of taxes, including, withholding, income and value added tax (VAT).

“This is aside from engaging with state governments with a view to suspending what is called ‘nuisance taxes” that do not add value to the coffers.

“The thinking, by the Tinubu administration here, is to stop the penchant by local government officials for extracting money through extortion from people struggling to make ends meet.

“And if there are still doubts about the President’s sincerity in shielding the masses from excessive tax burden, we want to draw attention to how he ordered a suspension of the newly introduced cyber security levy and ordered a review that may involve amending the Cybercrime Act which provides for an 0.5% levy on certain banking transactions.”

The group also used the opportunity to address a long-standing distortion that opposition elements have been using to paint President Tinubu bad.

“It is shocking that some Nigerians have gone to the extent of distorting comments made by Asiwaju Tinubu at his 2019 Colloquium on plans by the then President Muhammadu Buhari administration to increase VAT.

“While unscrupulous people, through subterfuge, have been recycling claims that he made a case for the reduction in the purchasing power of Nigerians, many fact checking agencies including the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) have debunked it but mischievous elements have continued to circulate it.

“We hereby rehash what the President Tinubu indeed said on the day which was twisted, ‘Put a huge question mark on any increase on VAT, please. If we reduce the purchasing power of the people, we can further slow down the economy. 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 additional layer of taxes. For now, I’ll stop there.’

“We agree with fact checkers and make bold to say that Tinubu not only spoke against an increase in VAT but also made a case for a broader tax net to bring in more people rather than a general increase in taxation.

“Like the World Trade Organization (WTO) DG Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala recently suggested, President Tinubu is keen on broadening the tax net to improve the country’s tax to GDP ratio and we urge mischief makers to put a stop to the long-standing distortion,”TMSG added.

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