Media Relations Consultant, Chief Fidel Onyeneke has appealed to the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) to rescind its decision to impose stamp duty charges on house tenancy in Nigeria,describing it as excruciating to the average citizen of the Country.
In a press statement in Owerri on Tuesday, Chief Onyeneke said that such taxation would add to the economic pains already suffered by the masses.He observed that most people especially the youths and the down trodden, sleep under the sun and rain as a result of lack of funds to pay house rents.
He frowned that rather than fashion out ways of cushioning the hardship currently faced by the people, FIRS came out with such a taxation policy which would make the tenants to live more in penury,and even render them homeless.
Chief Onyeneke, a former Chairman of NUJ in Imo state ,stated that the timing of the introduction of the stamp duty payment was very wrong considering what Nigerians were passing through at this stage as a result of the corona virus pàndemic.
According to him,payment of the stamp duty on house tenancy will force the Landlords to increase the amount for rents,and the tenants will bear the brunt.He therefore urged the federal government to call the Inland revenue Agency to order,and halts its plan in this direction which is draconial.
Chief Onyeneke regretted that the cost of building materials had been on the increase in the country which most landlords gave as a reason to exploit the tenants, stressing that further tàxes would drastically and negatively affect the well being of the tenants.
The Media Relations Consultant urged the government to protect both the tenants and the landlords by mapping out strategies to force down the cost of building materials, and reduce house rents. Chief Onyeneke also advised Federal and state governments to embark on the massive development of various housing units to provide shelter for different classes of persons in the Country.
He also suggested that conducive atmosphere should be created to encourage private developers to embark on high,medium and low density housing projects.”Government needs to provide adequate shelter for the citizens. Public and civil servants should also be given the opportunity to have their own houses”Onyeneke suggested.
He called on the Federal government to stop any move that would cause more problems to the majority of the masses who live as tenants in different parts of the country.Chief Onyeneke explained that there was nothing wrong in payment of taxes and stamp duty which is a civic responsibility, but stressed that every policy that affects the masses must have a human face.
He urged FIRS to focus more on some well established companies, industrial ventures and highly placed individuals who own manshions and posh cars all over the world and make them pay appropriate taxes,rather than subjecting the already impoverished Nigerians to further punishment through undue exploitation.