Senator Shehu Sani Sani on Friday took a mild jab at the Federal Government over the recent report of a move to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT).
The lawmaker representing Kaduna Central seconded a call by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in which the APC chieftain urged the FG to halt every move to increase VAT in Nigeria.
Addressing a gathering at the Bola Tinubu Colloquium on Thursday in Abuja, the national leader of the APC advised the Nigerian Government against the move and warned that such a decision was capable of worsening the nation’s economic challenges.
“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.
He added, “If we reduce the purchasing power of the people, we can further slow down the economy.”
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Following Tinubu’s call, Senator Sani took to Twitter taking a swipe at the government saying, “Jagaban has spoken his truth and they are quiet, but if it’s another person they would have a counter or ask why are you embarrassing the President publicly ‘when you have private channels of advising him”.
Still speaking about truth, the lawmaker noted that truth must be told to power, arguing that it is only those who do these that get a place in the annals of history.
“History has no record of those who whisper the truth to power,but only of those who told the truth to power,” Sani said.
Meanwhile, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has asked the Federal Government to tread with caution in the drive for improved revenue.
The Director-General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said this in a statement on Wednesday while reacting to the plan by the government to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT).
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance had defended the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) that VAT be increased by 50 per cent during a presentation in the Senate.
Ajayi-Kadir, however, said such policy was not ‘manufacturing friendly’, adding that implementing it would have a negative effect as a result of the planned increase in minimum wage.
“As plausible as the recommendation to increase VAT may look, implementing it at this time would boomerang because the timing is inappropriate, especially at a time when the minimum wage of N30,000 was just agreed upon,” he stated.
The MAN DG added, “This could send a wrong signal that the government is not sensitive to the plight of the low- and middle-income earners, who are clearly in the majority. The Nigerian economy will be in a more vulnerable state if VAT is increased.
“No controversy, the burden of the tax would be shifted to the Nigerian consumers that are already struggling, the economy would certainly experience demand crunch, inventory of unsold items would soar, pthe rofitability of manufacturing concerns would be negatively impacted, many factories will witness serious downturn or wind down operations.”
Ajayi-Kadiri, therefore, advised the government to widen the tax net rather than increase the rate in order to meet the growing need for more revenue to address the development objective of the country.
He also appealed to the government not to increase the VAT at this time but consider the implementation of the afore-mentioned tax specific recommendations.