The Centre for Global Solutions and Sustainable Development (CENGSSUD) has condemn the federal government’s imposition of N50 stamp duty for money received into accounts and call for immediate review of the policy.
In a statement signed by Adebowale Adeniyi, the Executive Director of the CENGSSUD, the centre express fear that the policy ‘would not only worsen the poverty level in the country but also increase the burden on businesses and promote already existing inequality.’
While urging the government to take paramount the people’s interest at all times, CENGSSUD question the motive of the policy, accused the government of non-prudence saying it implemented the policy to finance ‘extravagant budget.’
“It is truism that there is no issue about the legality of this measure as it is backed by the Stamp Duty Act (2004), but there are concerns about its morality, timing and appropriateness.
“A time like this when many Nigerians have not recovered from the drastic increase in dollar rate which as at today (4th February 2016) amounts to N307 to $1, and in return has caused inflation in the country on all items, a time when the poor are still lamenting for the recent increase in price of electricity and kerosene, A time when the masses are complaining about multiple taxation. Why has the government been so insensitive to these current pitiable situations of the people?
“We are not unaware of the fact that the government is imposing this policy towards making-up for the funding deficit in the proposed national budget but the fact remains that the budget already has some luxury and wasteful expenditures which the government should immediately review.
“How do we explain the proposed N3.8 billion as capital spending for Aso Rock’s Clinic alone, when the capital spending for about 16 Federal teaching hospitals are not up to the N3.8 Billon Figure? How do we explain N585 million and N415 Million which totaled N1 billion for the purchase of chairs and table respectively for Ministry of Communications and Technology headquarters? How do we explain N6.74 billion budgeted for the Senate President residence spending on consultancy services, liability and construction? How do we explain a budget that increases domestic spending and feeding within Aso Villa from N580 million in 2015 to N1.7 billion in 2016?
The policy according to the statement will only compound the hardship faced by Nigerian masses.
“The same Nigerians after paying N50 for stamp duty on deposit above N1000 received in their accounts, pay N4 for receiving alert of payment received, pay N65, for the fourth ATM withdrawal in a month, also pay 5% VAT on goods and services, even the average workers from the private sector through their salaries pay taxes etc.”
While noting that the policy negates the cashless policy as people will now prefer cash transaction, creates inequality as a poor who receives N1000 in his account pays the same amount of N50 stamp duty as the rich man receives N100 Million, the centre enjoined the federal government to cut its spending and reverse the stamp duty with immediate effect.
“We use this opportunity to call on the CBN to henceforth make wide consultations with all relevant stakeholders, before embarking on their various conflicting inconsistent trial-by-error policies”
The centre also calls on government at all level to start the implementation of the newly adopted United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).