The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has asked the federal government to consider tax waivers and other fiscal incentives to save jobs as the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on livelihoods, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari to take more specific steps in providing palliatives and support to organised businesses.
Its’ Director-General, Dr Timothy Olawale, said the real sector is facing the risk of a total shut down, as there are no imports and exports; sales are down and production at almost zero levels.
He noted that workers are expected to be paid and other commitments honoured by the businesses.
“Tax-free cash flow boost for employers; a stimulus package to help pay wages or for investment to protect against downturn inactivity; the payment should be open to businesses with a turnover of less than N50 million,” Olawale said.
He urged the government to allow tax payment deferrals for six months, with a discount on interest rates.
Olawale urged the Federal Government to make available electricity bailout for power consumers.
He said in the wake of the directives by various the Federal and state governments for a sit-at-home order, especially for civil servants to contain the spread of Coronavirus, more families would have to pay more for electricity bills.
He said the weak purchasing power of Nigerians would be further eroded with mounting electricity bills, hence the call for an electricity stimulus package to cushion the effect.
He, however, pointed out that lack of data for the citizens could threaten the initiative as the country lacks credible data to track the poor of the poorest.
He said the Federal Government should have used the opportunity of the lapses discovered during the implementation of the TraderMoni initiative to correct same, by streamlining and harmonising its date collection and collation processes to make it reliable and credible.
The NECA boss said the country needs a reliable base as the issue will keep coming over and over, and that only a reliable database would solve the challenges that come with such.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to take more specific steps in providing palliatives and support to organised businesses.
According to him, one way the government could support is a temporary scheme for paying compensation to companies which face the risk of laying off workers to enable them to retain their jobs.
“Under the scheme, which could last for the next three months, the government will cover 60 per cent of the salaries of employees paid on a monthly basis, who would otherwise have been fired, with companies paying the remaining amount,” he said.