Prominent politician and member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has opposed the government’s plan to increase Value Added Tax, VAT.
His grouse: an increase in VAT will reduce the purchasing power of Nigerian consumers and may increase hardship in the country. “This is why I am appealing to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and his team to put a huge question mark on any increase on VAT,” Tinubu said.
The former governor of Lagos State at the 11th colloquium event marking his 67th birthday in Abuja voiced his rejection hours after the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed confirmed plans to increase revenue by introducing new taxes.
Ahmed, at the public hearing on the 2019 budget organised by the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Appropriation on Wednesday said the Federal Government has devised a new revenue initiative to increase revenue to fund this year’s budget.
She said the initiative is segregated into three thematic areas and appealed for the support of the National Assembly.
Opposing any plan to increase taxes, Tinubu said government should rather widen the tax net and include those who are not yet taxed. “Let us make the net bigger so that we can take in more taxes. That is what we must do in the country instead of putting an additional layer of taxes for now,” he argued.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, had explained that government is planning on increasing VAT by 50 percent to pay the new national minimum wage and shore up its revenue.
The Senate had passed for third reading a bill seeking to increase minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000.
VAT is currently being charged at five percent.