By Udeme Clement
The managing director and chief executive officer, Eagle Package Printing Limited, Mr. Olusoga Sonaike,Â has called on the Federal Government to fashion out efficient implementation strategyÂ for its draft national tax policyÂ to addressÂ the problem of multiple taxation in the industrial sector of the economy.
Sonaike, who spoke with Business Vanguard, onÂ the challenges facing manufacturers in Nigeria said, â€œMost manufacturers often complain of multiple taxation as another factor hindering them from improving their margin in business. So, the new policy must be properly implemented to restructure the entire tax system in order to enhance rapid growth in the industryâ€.
He stressed thatÂ the framework of the new policy must address the issue of multiple taxation holistically. â€œGovernment should come up with a unified tax system that would address all the issues of taxation in the country. A situation where the three tiers of government are involved in collection of taxes is not good for the industrial sector of the economyâ€, Sonaike stated.
HeÂ noted, â€œErratic supply of electricity is another major problem that has taken its toll on the entire economy. For instance, in Eagle Package, we spend approximately N8million every month to generate power for our operations, which is very high compared to the total overhead we realise from the business. Power crisis has also affected our production capacity, because, right now, we produce 100 tonnes of packaging materials monthly, though the company has the capacity to produce over 200 tonnes on monthly basis. We limit the capacity to what we have at the moment due to power failure and high price of diesel.
â€œGovernmentâ€™s approach to solving the power generation and distribution challenges is like building a factory without raw materials to produce with.Â How do you explain the situation where gas turbine stations were built without adequate gas supply to power them. Government shouldÂ implement theÂ gas master plan in such a way that gas is supplied to every community. Local communities should have turbine stations installed and gas readily available at affordable price.â€
Sonaike added thatÂ â€œmost commercial banks often give stringent conditions when it comes to giving loans to manufacturers, which makes it difficult for them to accessÂ funds for expansion.
Speaking onÂ Vision 20- 2020, he said, â€œEmployment generation is very important in every economy. Government must create jobs in order to achieve its Vision 2020 target.
I believe that government should aid job creation by creating enabling environment for investors to come in. Also, government should invest more in the agricultural sectors in order to create more jobs for the youths. The direct responsibilities of government should be logistics, electricity, security, friendly tax laws and bank lending regulations that would make people with the right ideas and skills to establish small and medium scale industries in all aspects of our economy.
Buying commercial motor cycles popularly known as (okada) for youths and calling that empowerment is faulty as we tend to overlook the social costs in terms of healthcare for victims of okada accident, pollution and others. The government should create farm scheme where youths could be encouraged to take up either animal or crop farming.â€