A faith-based organisation, The Muslim Congress (TMC) has called for drastic reduction in the cost of running government by reducing the number of political appointees across all tiers of government rather than burdening Nigerians with more tax.
This is one of the high-points raise in the series 16 of the “State of the Nation Address” presented by the TMC Committee on Social Mobility, the Economy & Politics at the weekend in Lagos.
Presenting the address to newsmen, Dr Luqman AbdurRaheem, Chairman of the committee, said “the burden of the proposed VAT increase and other taxes on people will be worrisome”.
He acknowledged that “this is indeed a trying time for, not just the government, but also the hardworking people of Nigeria.
“The people are facing the burden of multiple levies and taxes that have the effect of reducing the purchasing power of the people and eroding their desire for quality living”.
AbdurRaheem, who is also the Amir (President) of TMC, said the government needed to make more money for developmental purposes but the people also needed to live lives that are qualitative and fulfilling.
“A balance needs to be sought between the needs of government and the needs of the people for quality living.
“This will not be achieved by making the people bear the burden of more taxes but by government creatively reducing the cost of governance at all levels.
“Let there be a reasonable reduction in the number of political appointees across all tiers of government.
“The numbers of elective offices, especially at the House of Representatives and the Senate, need to be considerably reduced.
“Closely following this will be a drastic reduction in the emolument and allowances of members of the National Assembly.
“This same treatment should also apply to all political appointees.
`This should bring considerable savings that can be channeled for development so that the long suffering masses can heave a sigh of relief from the tax overload,” the Amir said.
On the lingering issue of National Minimum Wage, the committee said it support the stand of the labour unions calling for “prompt implementation of the new N30,000 minimum wage across the board”.
The chairman said the call by the organised labour for the immediate commencement of the payment of the N30,000 new minimum wage was indeed reasonable.
“The payment should not be allowed to drag further since it has already dragged for sometime.
“The people deserve the increase since they have always received the short end of the stick.
“The disagreement over the percentage inconsequential adjustment arising from the new wage structure should be resolved quickly and amicably since the nation and the people cannot afford any disruption in societal activities should the organised labour decide to go on strike as is being planned.
“Let the government respond to the needs of her people with the urgency it deserves,” AbdurRaheem said.
Meanwhile, the committee commended the Federal Government for acting to its resolve to return to a January to December budget cycle, by presenting the 2020 budget proposal to the National Assembly in good time.
“The need to return to a January to December budget cycle seems to be on the right burner this time around.
“Quite unlike what happened in the last four years when the budget was normally passed into law around May or June, the 2020 Budget might be a surprising departure given the seriousness on the part of the federal government and the National Assembly.
“The aggregate expenditure of the budget, presented by President Muhammadu Buhari, is N10.33 trillion as it seeks fiscal consolidation, investment in critical infrastructure and incentives for private sector investments.
“Nigerians are eagerly awaiting the passage of the budget into law before the end of December 2019.