By Ajisafe Olayiwola
- says debt may hinder achievements of Tinubu’s administration
- says siphonage of collected revenue is Nigeria’s problem
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has lamented that the Federal Government is placing its N77 trillion debt burden on the manufacturers in the country.
The association also said its members have been hit with high multiple taxes.
In its first quarter Manufacturers CEO Confidence Index on Monday, the Q1 report titled, ‘Special Focus: MAN at the Receiving End of National Debt Crisis,’ MAN noted that the nation’s tax burden which has “domino effects of escalating public debt on the manufacturing sector are endless.”
The association noted that Nigeria’s rising domestic debt is affecting the survival of private investments in the manufacturing sector.
This, it said, reduces the availability of credit facilities and brings about increased lending rates.
It revealed that the depreciation of the Naira is also caused by the servicing of external debts in foreign currencies.
MAN blamed the FG for the unfavourable business climate in the country, citing the “indiscriminate imposition of high and multiple taxes on manufacturers.”
“To start with, rising domestic debt is highly crowding out private investment in the manufacturing sector by reducing credit availability and forcing hike in lending rates.
“External debts are mostly serviced in foreign currencies, hence high demand for foreign currencies further depreciates the naira and makes importation of non-locally produced critical inputs highly expensive for manufacturers.”
“Moreover, higher debt servicing is consuming greater volume of forex and worsening the forex scarcity that has plagued the manufacturing sector for many years. Higher debt repayment requires increased revenue,” the statement added.
The statement read, “The Nigerian government has continued to breed a harsh business environment by its indiscriminate imposition of high and multiple taxes on manufacturers all in a bid to generate revenue.
“Huge public debt led to low foreign investment and foreign capital inflow which worsen the forex scarcity that has remained a bone in the throat of manufactures.”
The association cautioned the government not to see the high taxation on the manufacturing sector “as the last resort” to generate revenue in order to service the nation’s debt.
“Contrary to the popular parlance in the government quarters that Nigeria has revenue problem, the country’s debt crisis is not a result of inadequate revenue and it is anti-growth to view manufacturing taxes as the last resort for curbing the debt problem.”
MAN noted that, despite the country’s debt financing, it’s yet to feel its impact on the sector’s numerous challenges.
“The manufacturing sector which has always been at the receiving end has not felt any significant impact of the debt finance on the numerous challenges that have bedeviled its performance in many years. Infrastructure decadence, forex scarcity, credit crunch and naira depreciation have become bones in the throats of MAN members despite the humongous increase of over 410% in the country’s debt profile in the last eight years.
“Amidst multiple taxes, Nigeria’s real problem is not revenue generation or collection but the siphonage of collected revenue so that they do not reflect in the records.”
“MAN is of the view that debt worth of N77 trillion is an enormous burden to inherit and will most likely limit the achievements of the new administration,” it added.
The association recommended that the FG should:
1. Increase the revenue base by widening the tax net through an enhanced data capture of business operators in the informal sector.
2. Strictly implement the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme through the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
3. Further identify and amend the loopholes in the tax laws in order to reduce the leakage of tax revenues.
4. Promote fiscal discipline by reducing the cost of governance and strictly complying with section 41 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and section 38 (sub-section 2) of the CBN Act.