The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has rejected Federal Government’s proposed imposition of fresh taxes or levies on Nigerians to fund the reconstruction of tollgates on federal highways across the country.
It argued that for the tolling policy to see the light of the day, no additional burden, in form of any tax or levy should be placed on businesses and individuals to fund the toll system.
Director General of NECA, Timothy Olawale told The Guardian that individuals and businesses have already been over burdened with several taxes and even proposed additional taxes such as the mobile tax and increased Value Added Tax (VAT).
He said adding a fresh levy to the existing ones would reduce the purchasing power of Nigerians with dire consequences for businesses and households.
Olawale, who applauded the initiative, however, noted that the proposed plan should not commence under the present state of dilapidated roads across the country.
He advised that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Works and Housing to engage relevant professional and Business Membership Organisations (BMOs) to initiate policies that would guide the operations for effective infrastructure development of the country.
He advocated that private sector operators should be attracted through public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the construction, maintenance and management of the toll systems, as it obtains in other climes.
The NECA boss also canvassed resuscitation of the nation’s rail system, maintaining that rail transportation remained the cheapest and most efficient globally.He added that bringing the rail system to limelight would reduce the high cost of maintenance as it carries over 90 per cent of domestic freight and passengers.
“We are conscious of the numerous benefits that the economy could derive from tolling. However, we are concerned also about the past failures that characterized management of the toll system across the country, occasioned by huge revenue leakages and lack of maintenance of the roads.
“We will like to reiterate that not all roads are viable for proposition for tolling, especially subsidiary roads and those with low traffic,” he said.