Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has urged the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the six percent tenancy and lease stamp duty agreement.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, while giving the warning in a statement on Saturday, also called it a great injustice against the Nigerian poor and told the administration to “avoid institutionalizing the widespread belief that it is a crime to be poor in Nigeria”.
Labour further condemned the policy, noting that it came when Nigerians are trying to cope with COVID-19 shock, adding that the it will worsen the situation faced by Nigerian workers, most of whom are tenants.
NLC boss said, “We are having a hike in taxes and user access fees when other countries are offering palliatives to their citizens. Nobody would want to be a tenant if they had an alternative.
“This means that tenants which these new policy targets are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It would be illogical, insensitive and inhuman to churn out laws that make our poor go to bed at night with tears in their eyes.”
He asserted that progressive taxation all over the world was that the rich subsidizes for the poor, noting that accommodation is a fundamental right guaranteed by Nigeria’s constitution.
He wondered why tenants in the most vulnerable group would be expected to pay 6 per cent tax for accommodation when sales tax is 1.5 per cent.
“We understand that the government needs money to run the business of governance especially at this time of economic challenges all over the world. But the answer is not in further exploiting the already exploited.”
NLC said one of such ways of mobilising funds was to reduce official graft and corruption.
“There are thousands of unoccupied houses in different parts of the Federal Capital Territory and indeed many cities in Nigeria belonging to very affluent members of the society.”
NLC reiterated its call on the government to tax such properties in order to relieve Nigeria’s daunting housing deficits and generate needed funds.
Wabba added that NLC expects the reversal of the 6 percent tenancy and lease stamp duty policy.