The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Saturday rejected the 6% stamp duty on tenancy and lease agreements stipulated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba in a statement described the new tax as an additional financial burden on poor Nigerians, especially with the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said; “The Nigeria Labour Congress rejects this new stamp duty policy on rents and leases as it would worsen the deplorable situation faced by Nigerian workers most of whom unfortunately are tenants.
“It is also alarming that we are having a rash of hikes in taxes and user access fees when other countries are offering palliatives to their citizens.”
He called on the federal government and Federal Inland Revenue Service to rescind the “harsh fiscal measure” as it is boldly insensitive to the material condition of Nigerians which has been compounded by the Covid-19 health insurgency.
“Nobody would want to be a tenant if they had alternative. This means that tenants which this new policy targets are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“It would be illogical, insensitive and inhumane to churn out laws that make our poor go to bed at night with tears in their eyes.
“The principle of public taxation especially progressive taxation all over the world is that the rich subsidizes for the poor.
“Every tax policy that would be enforceable must create a safety net for the poor. Recent policies of government indicate otherwise.
“Accommodation is a fundamental right guaranteed by Nigeria’s constitution. It is unimaginable that tenants who are in the most vulnerable group would be expected to pay 6% tax for accommodation when sales tax is 1.5%.
“This is indeed a great injustice against the Nigerian poor. Government must take deliberate steps to avoid institutionalizing the widespread belief that it is a crime to be poor in Nigeria,” Wabba stated.