Philip Clement, Abuja
The Abuja Chamber for Commerce and Industry, (ACCI) has welcomed the declaration by the Honourable Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration, Alhaji Muhammad Bello on plans to harmonise tax policy within the territory to ease the burden of multiple taxation on SMEs.
In a statement by ACCI president, Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, he said the decision confirmed the Minister’s acknowledgement of the challenges faced by businesses within the territory due to series of levies, charges and taxes from Federal, FCTA and Area Council Administration.
“Multiple taxation within the FCT and the larger national economy has imposed crippling consequences on businesses. The fallout has been many failed businesses, rising level of inflation, the non-thriving of existing ones and the lack of capacity to engage many unemployed youth.
“We want to note that lower taxes when also harmonised enhance prosperity of the economy. As an SME nation, expanding the base and health of the business sector is a smart choice to exit recession and adjust to the pandemic economic disruption. It is thus gratifying to note that FCTA is taking the lead to ease the tax burden on SMEs. Such an action will have multiplier effect on the FCT economy, leading to more job creation and reduction of poverty rate.
“The path of lower taxation to speed up the growth of the economy is a tested tool that has helped many economies. Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, old Hong Kong, Russia, Australia, and Israel are some of the non-western countries that have, in the last 100 years, managed to move their countries from “developing” to “developed” economies through a combination of lower tax rate and high tax base.
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry is of the view that governments at all level should focus on increasing the tax base rather than the tax rate,” he added.
He noted that the tax policy reform being contemplated by the FCT administration is of direct significance and interest to the ACCI and expressed readiness to identify and work with the FCTA to accomplish the objectives.