Vol. 6, Issue 5 (2020)
Business growth and taxation in the post COVID-19 pandemic era in Nigeria: Some critical legal thoughts
Author(s): Kwaghkehe Ierkwagh, Shankyula Tersoo Samuel, Jane-Francis Terdoo Yagba
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic which started in Wuhan, China in 2019 has within the shortest possible time spread to about 200 countries causing distortions in all sectors of national economies. The disease which spread to Nigeria in January, 2020 occasioned total lockdown arising from COVID-19 protocols put in place by the government to curb the spread of the disease. Consequently, the public service and businesses were shutdown resulting to mass job and income losses. Amid the catastrophic impacts of COVID-19 on the masses, the Nigerian government amended the Value Added Tax (VAT), increasing the tax rate and further purported to increase Stamp Duty rate on tenants thereby impoverishing the Nigerian masses the more. Through the doctrinal research method, the paper has established that the increased tax rates raises issues of fairness and legality. The paper found that the increase in Value Added Tax rate is ill-timed, while the purported increase of Stamp Duty rates on tenants has no legal backing. It has also been established in the paper the new tax rates also raises issues of multiplicity of taxes and consumer detriment. It has also been revealed that though the lockdown is gradually being eased by the government, the impacts still persist. The paper suggest that the call by the Chartered Institute of Nigeria of Taxation for tax waivers to mitigate the hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy is timely but must be backed by a legal instrument since taxation is a matter of law not a contract or compromise.