.New tax tribunal rule may kill businesses, cause job losses ― Expert

By Victor Ahiuma-Young, LAGOS

Organised Labour in the nation’s telecommunications industry has rejected planned hike in telecommunications tariff, warning that it will worsen the poverty and compound employment crisis in the country.

Acting under umbrella of the Private Sector Telecommunications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PTECSSAN, the workers urged the government to jettison the plan, stressing that Nigerians were already overburdened by anti-people’s policies and programmes.

PTECSSAN’s General Secretary, Okunu Abdullahi, said:  “On August 8, 2022, the media was awash with news of plan by the Federal Government to increase the telecommunications services tariff effective 2023.

‘’This news came to us as a rude shock, just like it did to majority of Nigerians that heard or read about it. We cannot but ask why this government seems to be so addicted to inflicting hardships on Nigerians at every slightest opportunity.

“We recalled that recently, the government raised Value Added Tax, VAT, to 7 per cent and now it plans raising it to 12.5 percent without considering the negative implications on Nigerians.

‘’The government needs to know that Nigerians are already overburdened by the high cost of living in the country, hence it should not add to their suffering.

“The government must bear in mind that any increase in the telecommunications tax will automatically have ripple effects not only in the sector but also on other sectors that rely on the telecommunications industry for their survival.

‘’Some of other sectors that depend on the telecommunications industry and will be impacted by this planned increase include banking, health, education, etc.

“Apart from the increase in cost of living for the citizenry because of the tax increase, this plan, if effected as announced, may lead to loss of jobs, especially in the sector, because employers of labour usually look in the direction of staff reduction to maximise profit.

‘’This is never in doubt as they (employers) are out to make as much profit as possible.  Therefore, once their revenue is hindered because of low patronage, that will be brought about as consumers will be discouraged from sustaining the proportion of their original consumption before the increase.

“We urge the federal government to rescind its decision on the planned increase as it is ill-timed and one if seen through, will add more to the hardship of Nigerians.

‘’It should listen to the wise counsel of the Minister of Communications & Digital Economy on this ill advised planned increase.”

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