The President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry has reacted to the news that the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) intends to seal hotels over issues of tax evasion and the implication it would have on the hospital business.
ACCI appreciates the support of AMAC to SMEs through the provision of infrastructure and friendly business environment in the FCT Municipal.
The Chamber also appreciates that often, businesses in the FCT, including hoteliers, face the dilemma of who to pay taxes to between AMAC and FCTA and FIRS due to varying reasons.
This lack of clarity of who to pay tax to by hoteliers has resulted to business owners paying double tax. And this is the fastest way to kill businesses in the FCT, and that can not be the intention of the AMAC administration.
The Chamber understands the important role taxation plays in the economic development of a country or state. However, the decision to seal hotels in the FCT due to tax matters and the attendant negative impact it would have in the economy of Abuja, the ACCI proposes the following.
ACCI appeals for extension of time frame considering the economic situation of the country.
Furthermore, the Chamber urges the FCT Administration to urgently streamline tax administration in the FCT to avoid stifling businesses.
ACCI seeks for the integration of hotel businesses that have contravened the Abuja master plan, looking at the fact that very few slots were approved for hotel buildings in the master plan. Categorisation of these enterprises into Hotels, Guest Houses, Bed and breakfast, Hostels and Apartments with a clear scope of permitted activities for each category depending on the neighbourhood, will go a long way in supporting the growth of the industry rather than shutting them down.
It is important to reiterate the challenges currently are faced with. Businesses across the country are under serious operational challenges due to the high cost of raw materials, epileptic power supply, and high cost of logistics. Shutting down hotels can only increase hardship and unemployment in the FCT.
ACCI is willing to hold a round table on the above issues relating to tax administration, sustenance and compliance with FIRS, FCTA, AMAC, HOFA, businesses and other relevant stakeholders within the FCT.
Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar