LCCI seeks fiscal, economic palliatives for companies post COVID-19

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is seeking some fiscal and economic palliative for companies to fast track economic recovery after coronavirus.

In a statement, the LCCI’s Director-General, Dr. Muda Yusuf, made the recommendations.

The Chamber on Monday reeled out post pandemic rescue plan which is targeted at salvaging the national economy after the exit of the novel coronavirus.

Yusuf explained that the recommendations became imperative to minimise the effects of the global economic meltdown on the Nigerian businesses and engender sustainability.

He proposed tax breaks and concessions for investors by suspending all forms of taxes for health sector investors, agriculture and agro-processing, aviation and hospitality sectors for at least one year.

In addition, the LCCI boss called for an extension of filling of annual returns, including payment of due amounts to June 30, 2020.

He pushed for unconditional waiver of penalties and interests of all outstanding tax payments, temporary suspension of recently introduced 50 per cent increase in Value Added Tax till the end of 2020.

The Director-General further called for a 50 per cent reduction in all taxes currently being paid by companies in manufacturing for one year, and the suspension of PAYE for all employees for a period of six months.

This, he explained, would put some money back in the hands of the employees during this period to strengthen the purchasing power of citizens and stimulate output within the economy.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has raised serious concerns about economic sustainability and business continuity, both of which are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

“It has become imperative to commence conversations about policy measures and reforms that need to happen for the realization of desired continuity outcomes.

“It is thus important to begin to set agenda for the Nigerian economy after the pandemic – a post pandemic rescue plan.

“This is done through the injection of liquidity [depending on the fiscal space] or through policy measures that offer some accommodation that facilitates economic and business recovery.

“To save the economy from collapse, we need to salvage investments across all levels – micro, small, medium and large enterprises,” he said.

In recognizing the efforts of health workers as front liners in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, Yusuf also proposed that their PAYE be suspended for one year.

For the real sector, the DG reeled out fiscal policy palliatives to include zero import duty on health sector raw materials and equipment to incentivise greater private sector investment in the health sector.

“Also, manufacturing raw materials and intermediate products should attract import duty waiver for six months to accelerate a rebound of the sector.

“Agro-processing inputs should enjoy import duty waiver for one year and there should be suspension of excise duty payment for manufacturers for one year.

“There should be greater commitment of government and its agencies to the patronage of made in Nigeria products by creating a strong monitoring framework to ensure compliance with the relevant executive order.

“Import duty waiver on machineries without need for any bureaucracy for at least 12 months to facilitate the completion of ongoing projects by industrialists is also key,” he said.

LCCI seeks fiscal economic palliatives for companies post COVID-19