Centre for Global Solutions and Sustainable Development, CENGSSUD, has condemned what it described as ‘outrageous’, the N50 stamp duty imposed on Nigerians by the federal government. The group is also piqued by the huge expenditure proposal for the Aso Clinic reflected in the 2016 appropriation policy.
In a press statement by it Executive Director, Adebowale Adeniyi and made available to Nigerian Pilot yesterday, the group said the order, if not reviewed, would not only worsen the poverty level in the country, but would also heighten the huge burden being experienced in doing business and promote inequality in the country.
“While we sympathise with the Federal Government on the economic situation it has found itself, and its efforts to boost non-oil revenue sectors, especially through taxes and rates, the government should equally remember at all times that the people’s interest is paramount and should come first,” the statement said.
According to Adebowale, although the federal government policy is backed by the Stamp Duty Act (2004), “there are concerns about its morality, timing and appropriateness at this moment when many Nige¬rians are already under terrible financial pressures,” adding that the implementation is in flagrant disregard to the public outcry.
He explained that, at a time when many Nigerians are yet to recover from the drastic fall in the value of the naira, amid excruciating problems, imposing the stamp duty policy amounts to insensitivity on the part of the government.
“We are not unaware of the fact that the government is imposing this
policy towards making-up for the funding deficit in the proposed
national budget, especially on oil revenue benchmark of 38 dollars per barrel, which as at today has fallen to 27 dollars and has made the budget to be unrealistic. The fact remains that the budget already has some luxury and wasteful expenditures which the government should immediately review.
“Asking poor Nigerians to pay for the luxury in the budget is commensurate with collecting money from Peter to pay Paul and also asking them to pay for sins not committed. There are scandalous expenditures in the budget which cannot be justified, the group posited.
The group also picked holes on the 2016 budget, especially the proposed N3.8billion capital expenditure on Aso Rock Clinic, when the capital spending for about 16 federal teaching hospitals is not up to the N3.8billion, as well as explain N585 million and N415 Million earmarked for the purchase of chairs and tables, respectively for the Ministry of Communications and Technology headquarters.
“How do we explain the N6.74 billion budgeted for the Senate President’s
residence spending on consultancy services, liability and construction? How do we explain N795 million for the update and maintenance of the website of a single ministry?” it queried.
Besides, CENGSSUD said it is illogical to explain a budget that increases domestic spending and feeding within Aso Villa from N580 million in 2015 to N1.7 billion in 2016, also asking: “How do we explain a situation where Nigeria’s lawmakers are the largest earners in the world even ahead of UK and America?”
The group advised the federal government to put the necessary structures in place in order to handle the monies recovered from the alleged loot of the treasury, including those recovered from the $2.1billion Dasukigate.

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