The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) has said the ongoing controversy over the Value Added Tax (VAT) should be handled with caution so that it doesn’t degenerate into a conflagrating crisis.
President of APBN, Surv. Akinloye Oyegbola while speaking on Monday at the Board meeting of the Association held in Lagos, said the ongoing furore on VAT between some states and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is one that is worth giving attention to.
He cautioned that “the issues about duplicity of taxation will depress the economy if not nipped in the bud.”
The APBN which is the umbrella body of 30 professional Association in the country also expressed concern over the free fall of the naira, saying that the situation is worrisome.
Oyegbola said, “The Board took into cognizance the gradual recovery of the nation’s economy which has been a huge concern to the Board. The drop in inflation rate to 17.01% in August 2021, which is the 5th consecutive decline is encouraging. The Board believes that this gradual growth can translate into more jobs.
“The Board is also concerned with the free fall of the naira against the dollar. While we are aware that the government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is doing its best to get the naira stable, we see the situation as worrisome.”
He also said the Board of the Association during their deliberations raised concern over looming food crisis in the country.
He said, “It’s an open secret that the high levels of conflict in different parts of the country, the not-too-favourable weather and the increasingly-dwindling purchasing power, are a big disincentive to farming, a development likely to result in food crisis this year. Besides providing security for the nation’s farmers, there is also the need for the Federal Government to come up with incentives that would encourage existing farmers or those planning to venture into farming.
“The issue of insecurity has been a major concern. It also formed a major thrust of the Board’s last deliberations, because of the seeming intractability of this issue. The nation’s economy is being stunted, and may not attract the much-needed investments as long as there are these palpable feelings of insecurity in the land. The Board urges the Federal Government to sustain its onslaught against bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and criminal elements across the country.”
The Association reiterated its call for both the Federal and state governments to engage indigenous professionals in reviving the nation’s economy.
According to the APBN President, any economy that wants to develop must find a way of enlisting the services of its professionals.
He said, “We believe the Nigerian governments – national and sub-nationals, are not doing that enough. The Board will, therefore, like to use this opportunity to call on those in government to begin to look inwards. For instance, APBN boasts of an array of qualified professionals, that can rub shoulders with their peers anywhere in the world, and we are very ready for national assignments.”
On the ongoing strike by Resident Doctors, the APBN called on government to take seriously the plight of doctors and health professionals in the country, saying government should invest more in our healthcare system to discourage brain drain and unnecessary loss of human capital.
The APBN said the prolonged strike by the doctors is worrisome, especially now that the country is battling COVID-19 and an outbreak of Cholera.
It urged government to quickly resolve with the doctors by meeting their demands