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By NBF News
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The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to sign into law the Personal Income Tax (Amendment) 2010 Bill.

The amendment bill, according to the association, is in the interest of social justice and the public interest to ultimately ensure the realization of its laudable objectives, adding that it would also help to bring the provisions of the Personal Income Tax Act in line with modern reality in view of the current high tax burden that is inadequately moderated by absurd personal allowance and reliefs.

In a letter addressed to the President entitled: 'PENGASSAN's Humble Appeal for Mr. President Assent to the Personal Income Tax (Amendment) 2010 Bill,' the union expressed delight on the new Personal Income Tax Law (as Amended) by the National Assembly. The association noted in the letter signed by its General Secretary, Comrade Bayo Olowoshile, that since the advent of the civilian administration in 1999 and after over 12 years of constitutional democracy in Nigeria, the nation have been patiently enduring the Personal Income Tax Decree No.104 (now Personal Income Tax Act (PITA), Cap P8 LFN 2004).

PENGASSAN said that since the enforcement of the Personal Income Tax Decree on August 25, 1993, it has never been amended nor reviewed to reflect the socio-economic reality. It stated, 'Mr. President would indeed agree that the existing Personal Income Tax Reliefs to taxpayers are irrational unfair and inequitable with socioeconomic costs and living standards thus impacting excessive and regressive taxation on the Nigerian workers, thereby encouraging tax evasion and discouraging voluntary compliance.

'For instance, in the current Personal Income Tax Act, the maximum amount of relief available is for a maximum of four children at N2, 500 for each child, and which per annum which sum up to N10,000. Also absurd is the N2,000 per annum relief for dependant relatives. Same concerns are also raised on other reliefs in PITA 2004 as they do not reflect the true motive of law towards assuaging the burden of taxpayer.'

PENGASSAN said that it fully agreed with the subject of many conferences and discussions which culminated in the Presidency forwarding an Executive Bill to the National Assembly with a view to amend the Personal Income Tax Act 2004. The association lauded the courage of the 6th National Assembly that has subjected the bill to the legislative processes, including public hearing and eventually passed and forwarded it for presidential assent.

It also agreed with the aim of the amendment bill, which is essentially to bring the principal Act provisions in line with existing realities to ensure easier compliance with the provisions and to bring about a higher level of voluntary compliance on the part of the taxpayers.

'PENGASSAN strongly believes that with the high pool of voluntary taxpayer, there will be multiplier effect of higher tax revenue to the government. It willl equally enhance the ability of tax authorities to assess, collect and account for taxes imposed under the Act. Moreover the amendment also seeks to align the Principal Act with the National Tax Policy,' it stated.