Senators kick against VAT increase bill, vow to shoot it down

According to Punch, the lawmakers said they would mobilise stakeholders to reject the bill, which has already passed second reading on the floor of the senate.

Recall that in September, the presidency approved an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) rate from 5% to 7.2% to expand fiscal revenue in the country.

The lawmakers argued that the proposed bill would worsen Nigerians’ plight.

Speaking on the bill, Senator Patrick Akinyelure representing Ondo Central said that the financial bill won’t be necessary if the revenue collecting agencies were effective. 

“There may not be a need for the review of the tax law seeking to increase VAT to 7.5 per cent if the revenue collection agencies are effectively discharging their functions.” he said.

Also reacting to the bill, a former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume said he would never support the move to increase tax in the country. 

Senator Ali Ndume says majority of his colleagues do not support the bill. (ChannelsTV)

Senator Ali Ndume says majority of his colleagues do not support the bill. (ChannelsTV)

Ndume disclosed that majority of the lawmakers in the Senate were not in favour of VAT increment.

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“Nobody wants any increment in VAT. Our people are already rejecting it claiming that it would lead to inflation and increase their burdens.

“They are saying the prices of goods and services will also increase.

“That is why I’m also opposed to it as a representative of my people, and decided to come up with legislation that will increase the revenue base of the country without much impact on the masses.

“The Communication Service Tax Bill is the alternative we are proposing and it’s better than VAT increment,” he said.

Another senator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, believe that the financial bill would seriously affect Nigerians. 

The Peoples Democratic lawmaker said, “The Buhari administration knows what it is doing, that’s why they did not include the details of the bill.

“They know that the Nigerian Television Authority usually air the proceedings of the Senate live on Wednesday and they know what would happen if we make contributions based on the specific objectives of the bill.

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“VAT increase will lead to hyperinflation and kill small and medium enterprises.”

Another senator, who also spoke on condition of anonymity promised to lead a protest against the bill during the public hearing.

He said, “The bill stipulates that we are amending seven Acts but we don’t have the details of the amendments.

“The only one they told us is that it seeks to increase VAT from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent. Who knows if it contains other provisions that are worse than that.

“I will attend the public hearing and I will rally stakeholders to reject the bill, because I did not seek the votes of my people to come and support legislation that will make their life more miserable.”

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had earlier urged the lawmakers not to pass the Value Added Tax increase bill, saying it is toxic and anti-people.

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