LCCI seeks concessionary tax rate for SME

Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry has urged the federal government to grant lower tax rate to small and medium enterprises to promote government objective of job creation. According to a statement issued by the LCCI signed by Director General Mr. Mudal Yusuf “The LCCI council met and deliberated on several issues impacting on the business environment. The highlights of the outcomes of the deliberations are the call for a concessionary tax rate for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in order to promote the objectives of job creation and inclusive growth as enshrined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP);  small businesses are more vulnerable to the current challenges in the economy, hence the high mortality rate. This group of businesses, therefore, deserve every support that the government can give. 

The meeting he said “expressed concern about the persistent delays in the issuance of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) to importers by the Nigeria Customs Service. This situation is contributing to cost escalation for many businesses, cargoes are delayed unduly leading to the payment of avoidable demurrage and high interest cost on borrowed funds by importers.  The protracted delays in the issuance of PAAR is a negation of the policy of the governmenton Ease of Doing Business. The LCCI therefore calls on the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, to urgently intervene to put an end to the persistent delays in the issuance of PAAR”.

The LLCI Yusuf said expressed concern about the investigating activities of anti-graft agencies and regulatory institutions regarding alleged infractions by corporate organisations. The Chamber admonishes that such investigation, as much as possible, be conducted in a discreet manner devoid of any form of media hype. This is necessary to avoid unwarranted reputational damage and erosion of investors confidence. This position does not diminish the significance of compliance by corporate organisations with extant laws and the imperative of proportional sanctions for proven cases of infringements of the law.  The LCCI Council he observes is a leading advocate of sound corporate governance in the country.  Meanwhile, it is also important that there should be proper coordination between regulatory institutions and antigraft agencies in dealing with suspected regulatory infractions to avoid duplication of investigative actions”.  

The Council meeting also expressed concern over reports of interception of containers on the highways by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).  The “LCCI is of the view that where there are outstanding charges to be paid to SON, or where there are issues about SONCAP compliance, such matters should be dealt with before the container leaves the port. It is unprofessional for the operatives of SON to be intercepting containers on the highways on account of some fees or charges that have not been settled by importers. The Council equally “expressed worry over the practice by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) instructing the banks to put a lien on the accounts of alleged tax defaulters.  The Chamber stresses the need for FIRS to adhere strictly to due process in dealing with issues of alleged tax defaults. There should be a proper communication and engagement with taxpayers to properly ascertain a tax liability before such extreme actions of invocation of a lien on the accounts of companies are taken. This practice is very disruptive and has caused grave embarrassment to many corporate organisations”.

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