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Friday, June 9, 2023

Traders in Ekiti Lament Multiple Levies, Killing SMEs

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Traders within the Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti State are disgruntled over the multiple and exorbitant taxes and levies imposed on them by the Local Government.

Yesterday, a female POS agent was in a scuffle with an Ado LG staff, because she refused to pay a N5,000 development levy. She lamented that why should she pay N5,000 when she had already paid the development levy to the Local Government for the year, from proceeds from a separate business.

A source privy to the altercation disclosed that the agent decried there was no prior notice regarding the payment of a N5,000 levy and most of her colleagues, who are also POS agents, were not aware that Ado Local Government would be collecting N5,000 from them.

In addition to the development levy, the POS agent claimed that she already pays taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), State Internal Board of Revenue, Local Government and the Ekiti State Signage Agency.

A survey conducted by Private Wealth Services, PwC centered across 1,600 small businesses, revealed that about 49% of small business owners spend 20% to 40% of their income or profits on taxes and levies.

Partner & Head, Private Wealth Services, PwC, and a critic of Nigeria’s Multiple Tax System, Esiri Agbeyi, proffered a review of the country’s constitution and tax laws as a step towards helping small and medium scale enterprises to grow.

She maintained that multiple taxes remain a problem as the constitution gives the 3 government tiers distinct taxing powers. She insists that businesses will continue to struggle with this problem unless something more concrete is done about excluding overlapping powers e.g. with consumption taxes.

Agbeyi called for a review and amendment of tax laws annually through Finance Acts. “Over time, Nigeria can lean towards a lower direct tax on income and more indirect tax on spending as are practiced in developed economies.” She said.

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