The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has asked the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to reverse the six per cent tenancy and lease stamp duty agreement in the country.
The NLC made the call in a statement by its president, Mr Ayuba Wabba, in Abuja.
Wabba condemned the new policy by the Federal Government through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) stipulating a six per cent stamp duty fee for every tenancy and lease agreement in Nigeria.
The NLC boss noted that the new stamp duty policy on rents and leases will worsen the situation faced by Nigerian workers most of whom, unfortunately, are tenants.
Ayuba Wabba said: “It is also alarming that we are having hike in taxes and user access fees when other countries are offering palliatives to their citizens.
“We call on the Federal Government and the Federal Inland Revenue Service to rescind this harsh fiscal measure as it is boldly insensitive to the material condition of Nigerians which has been compounded by the COVID-19.
“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 inhuman to churn out laws that make our poor go to bed at night with tears in their eyes.”
He said the principle of public taxation especially progressive taxation all over the world was that the rich subsidizes for the poor and that every tax policy that would be enforceable must create a safety net for the poor.
“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 per cent tax for accommodation when sales tax is 1.5 per cent,” Wabba said.
“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.
“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. There is no doubt that there are other painless ways of mobilizing funds to deal with the exigency of the times.”