Organised Labour has on Friday rejected government planned increase in value added tax, VAT, from 5 percent to 7.2 percent, describing the planned increase as anti-people and anti-development. Labour,
Speaking through the Union Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, Labour asked government to jettison the plan as it would not only weaken the citizens’ purchasing power, but also would worsen the poverty level in the country.
ULC in a statement issued by Joe Ajaero, its president, argued that manufacturers and businesses, in attempt to recoup the extra cost as a result of the hike in VAT, would dump it on the consumers and this would snowball into another round of increasing prices triggering another inflationary round that would ultimately undermine the economy.
The statement reads in part: “We are indeed worried that governance in Nigeria has rather become a tool for impoverishing the people rather than to make the lives and living of the populace more beneficial. The purpose of government, we have always known, is anchored on the drive to provide policies and programmes that are centred on the promotion of the welfare of the citizenry. But one wonders why we have seen a continuous reversal of this fundamental pursuit of governance in Nigeria now and in the past
“ULC views this proposed hike as one of those actions of government that are not founded on making positive impacts on the lives of the masses of Nigeria. The consequences of this hike on the lives of Nigerians that are already suffering horrendous deprivations as a result of ill-thought out programmes of various governments is dire and is capable of exacerbating the poverty that has ravaged the peoples of our nation.
“We do not think that government realises the depth of misery that pervades our nation and may have completely detached itself from the people it ought to succour. “Definitely, prices of goods and services will go up as a consequence with its attendant implications for cost of living pushing down further greater number of Nigerians into the cesspool of poverty.
“Manufacturers and businesses in attempt to recoup the extra cost as a result of the hike in VAT would dump it on the consumers and this would snowball into another round of increasing prices triggering another inflationary round that would ultimately undermine the economy.