Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has outlined policies to boost businesses in Nigeria, including a concessionary tax rate for micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
The chamber calls for speedy issuance of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) to importers by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to avoid unnecessary delays at the ports, stressing the need to reverse the Federal Inland Revenue Service’s (FIRS) restrictive ban on accounts of tax defaulters.
In a communiqué signed by Muda Yusuf, director-general of LCCI, the chamber states that the MSMEs, which constitute a greater part of the business environment, suffer from high tax rates and tax multiplicity that are partly hurting the capacity of these businesses to survive and achieve their aims and objectives.
The council requests that tax regulators aid MSMEs using concessionary tax rates, tax holidays and other favourable policies that will support their sustainability.
A follow-up to the tax issue is the instruction of the FIRS to ban the accounts of tax defaulters, placing restrictions on the financial freedom of those concerned.
“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,” LCCI said.
After deliberating on what it calls regulatory agencies’ harmful discharge of responsibilities, the council asks that they perform their duties and obligations without attracting unnecessary publicity that is detrimental to the concerned company. In addition to this, LCCI states that there should be proper coordination between regulatory agencies and anti-graft agencies in dealing with alleged regulatory violations to avoid duplication of investigative actions.
On issues relating to import delays, the council affirms that delays by the Customs Service such as late issuance of PAAR and demurrages on cargoes have contributory impact on the high cost of running businesses and are also a negation on the government’s policy on ease of doing business. It advises that the director of the Customs Service intervene and end the delays in all forms.
Speaking on the interception of containers on the highways by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the LCCI explains that 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. It asks that such issues should be attended to before the departure of the goods from the port.