The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) yesterday called for urgent tax reforms that will facilitate the survival of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, President of ACCI, said the call became necessary because demand for taxes stifles new SMEs even before they start making profit.
Speaking with DAILY INDEPENDENT in Abuja, Kayode explained that the practice of mandatory requirement for tax clearance from companies newly registered was a disincentive for the growth and thriving of SMEs in the country and a stumbling block in the Ease of Doing Business.
While noting the ongoing progress in national tax reforms, the ACCI boss advised tax authorities to immediately review the tax clearance system to reduce the burden placed on new and young companies sprouting up across the country.
“The growth of SMEs depends very much on the enabling environment which the government is able to create for them to grow.
“Their growth will in turn create jobs and collective wealth for the nation. All that is necessary must be done to nurture such new businesses.
“New companies should not be mandated to produce tax clearance until after a year or so of operations”, he said
Wondering why tax must be imposed before operations, Kayode said members of the Chamber had variously lamented the negative effect of that policy in their efforts to run their legitimate businesses.
“If this country must grow and have a vibrant economy, the plight of SMEs must be adequately taken into account. SMEs are of fundamental importance to us due to the meaningful contribution they add to economic development.”
“They are constantly expanding output, generating employment, redistributing income, promoting indigenous entrepreneurship as well as greatly producing primary goods that strengthen industrial linkages. The sector is accountable for about 85 per cent of the total industrial employment in the country and between 10-15 per cent of the total manufacturing output,” the ACCI President noted.