The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, ACCI, has advised the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, and other government bodies against alleged plans to impose N100,000 levy on bakery and other businesses.
Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, ACCI President, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja called the attention of the Abuja area council to the current high inflation rate.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr Ahmed Haruna, AMAC Director of Public Health, has explained that the new levy was subject to negotiation with an approved partner of the council.
He said that the levy was for discharge of “harmful hazardous substances” into the air, water and land by the bakeries.
According to him, failure to comply with the directive is a “punishable offence”, and could lead to the arrest of the operator and suspension of the bakery’s activities.
The ACCI said that the imposition of such levies would further increase the cost of doing business in the territory.
He urged the council to explore other means of raising revenue such as public-private partnership, among others.
“Imposition of new taxes like the generator and equipment taxes will not only be additional burden to be borne by business owners, it will accelerate the collapse of more businesses, deepen unemployment and further hike inflation rate in the country,” he said.
According to him, the chamber has already written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and other relevant authorities, calling for harmonisation of taxes for SMEs.
This, he said was the best way to stop the high rate of business failure, create jobs and boost the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, as over 90 per cent of Nigerian businesses were SMEs.
“Bakery business across the country are under serious operational challenges due to high cost of raw materials, epileptic power supply and high cost of logistics which have necessitated the steady increase of prices of bread.
“Consequently, many bakeries have shut down operations.
“We call on the leadership of Abuja Municipal Area Council, as well as other government agencies to suspend the planned imposition of generator and equipment taxes.
“As this is inconsistent with the Federal Government’s programmes to create attractive business climate for business owners,” he urged.