Lagos – In spite of the introduction of austerity measures by the Federal Government, the Organised Labour says the rich have continued to evade tax.Mr Peter Ozo-Eson, the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said in Lagos that a great percentage of the affluent and the propertied class in the country do not pay tax.
“Most of the very rich people in the country are not paying tax; there must be a scheme to get them to pay adequate tax.
“Most of the luxury goods are consumed by the rich, and goods in this category include private jets that are in our airports today,” he told newsmen.
He said the country could survive the current economic depression occasioned by the fall in oil prices with effective taxation of luxury goods being consumed by the rich.
The labour leader appealed to the government to shun all attempts to transfer the burden of the economic crisis to the workers.
“Nigeria is a country that is so rich and yet there is serious poverty that we are talking about.
“If we tax private jets and other frivolous forms of consumption in a very high rate, that will be a welcome development.
“Those who consume such commodity should be taxed and taxed heavily,” Ozo-Eson said.
Ozo-Eson said that the starting point of the austerity measures should be a cut in the cost of governance to check waste, adding that government could efficiently function with leaner expenditure pattern.
He added:“Our position is that with the employment positions in public sector today, most of the cost that is weighing heavily down the finances has nothing to do with the remuneration of workers.
“It has to do with the bloated and exquisite allowances attached to the management staff, political office holders and their staff.”
The NLC, he said, agreed in principle to the government’s plan to raise tax on luxury items.