By Kayode Tokede
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has advised the federal government to give one-year tax relief to businesses nationwide to aid their recovery from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations over the past months.
The organized private sector (OPS) group gave the advice in its ‘COVID-19 Impact Report Survey’ released on Sunday and signed by its Director-General, Dr. Muda Yusuf.
In addition to the tax holiday, the group also canvassed the suspension of the recently approved 7.5per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) rate till year end as well as extension of fiscal incentives to healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, airlines, manufacturers, agro-processors, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the hospitality sector.
The group stated that a significant fraction of sampled businesses, precisely 81 per cent, were ‘severely’ affected by the lockdown while 17 per cent indicated that the impact was moderate on their business.
According to the Chamber, the lockdown had severely impacted over 50% of businesses in the services sector, thereby reducing demand for services by individuals and corporate clients.
The report reads in part, “Recognising the role of business and investment in the economy, it is imperative to have a strategy aimed at enabling businesses to navigate through the current storm caused by the pandemic and jumpstarting the economy in general.”
Expatiating on the basis of the survey, the LCCI Director General said the Survey was conducted in line with the chamber’s mandate of ensuring an enabling environment for the general business community as well as determining the impact of the lockdown on businesses, using Lagos State as case study.
Yusuf pointed out the use of Lagos as case study for the survey was “informed by its commercial and economic importance to Nigeria.”
He further hinted that the survey captured businesses across various sectors of the economy, including food processing, agriculture, financial services, professional services, ICT, exports, trade and freight forwarding.