The Senate has thrown its weight behind the position of the Federal Government that people who earn higher must pay taxes on luxury goods.
The upper legislative chamber also resolved that rich people should pay more taxes.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over Tuesday’s plenary, said the rich must pay more taxes, while poor Nigerians should pay less.
He said with more money in government’s confers, more Nigerians will be lifted out of poverty.
“In other countries of the world, governments make deliberate efforts to get their people out of poverty. This is the practice all over the world. Nigeria should not be different. We need to provide for our people and get them out of poverty.
“There are so many ways we can achieve this. Government needs to implement policies that will take us out of poverty. One of them is the issue of taxation. The rich need to pay more taxes, while the poor should pay less. When the rich pay more taxes, there will be enough money to get our people out of poverty.
“We have our able youths who are jobless, despite the fact that they are educated. This cannot continue. We need to provide jobs for our youths and take them off the streets. As a parliament, we will take the necessary steps to ensure that this is achieved,” Ekweremadu said.
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, had while addressing newsmen at the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC on Sunday, said people with higher income must bear a greater part of tax burden.
Also appearing before the Joint Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation a fortnight ago, Adeosun revealed that taxes on luxury items like champagne, private jets, cigarettes among others would be released soon.
In a motion to commemorate the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and sponsored by Ali Wakili and 22 other lawmakers, the Senate faulted a recent report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that no fewer than 112 million Nigerians representing 67.1 percent of the country’s estimated population, now live below the poverty level.
In his submission, Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna State), said more than 80 percent of Nigerians live below the poverty line.
According to him, successive governments including President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, have not done enough to implement programmes that will lift Nigerians out of poverty.
Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano State), described poverty as a weapon of mass destruction. He said China, in the last 20 years, has lifted more 300 million of its citizens out of poverty.
He urged the Federal Government to do more and implement social programmes to lift the living conditions of Nigerians.
In its resolution, the Senate called on the Federal Government to declare free education at every level.
It also urged that policies and programmes evolved by the Federal Government through the Social Investment Programmes and other poverty alleviation and eradication measures be vigorously pursued.
Nigeria’s Federal Government is implementing a record N7.441 trillion budget for 2017 to turn the ailing economy to recovery and growth, amid tight incomes. Total revenue for the 2017 fiscal year was projected at N5.08 trillion, resulting to a projected overall deficit of N2.356 trillion and representing 2.18 percent of GDP.
The budget deficit is to be financed mainly be borrowing N2.32 trillion, out of which government hopes to source N1.25trillion domestically and N1.07 trillion from foreign sources.