Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has faulted the Federal Government’s plan to increase the Value Added Tax from five per cent to 35 per cent.
Umahi, who made the declaration on Wednesday while addressing staff of his office celebrating his re-election for a second term, described the FG’s plan as ‘digging a hole to fill a hole’.
Umahi noted that implementing the VAT increment to pay workers the new N30, 000 minimum wage would make things more difficult for the people.
“I call on the organised labour to dialogue with the government on such plans as people will make 30 per cent payment more on goods than what it used to be.
“We have not come to a point of realization or honesty on how to solve our problems and this is important.
“The Federal Government is borrowing money while states have been banned from borrowing.
“When VAT is increased from 5 per cent to 35 per cent, it means that anyone who wants to buy something will pay 30 per cent more than what he used to buy,” he said.
“We can plug the stealing or cut the cost of projects to have enough to cater for civil and non-civil servants.
“No governor or president will perform magic and if they give us two billion Naira and the wage bill is two billion Naira, you pay only wage bill and go to sleep.
“No amount of money paid to civil servants can be enough as it is only the one they make themselves that will assist them.
“When someone on grade level 10 is paid N50, 000 by the minimum wage, he goes to the hospital with high bills because VAT will be paid on the drugs.
“When someone goes to buy exercise books for his children, he will pay more and by the end, civil servants may be crying and wishing for a return to status quo,” he said.
He, however, called on civil servants to engage in agricultural and other meaningful ventures to sustain themselves rather than depending on the government.
“We will not share money as usual in the second tenure but will encourage all hardworking workers to improve and meet their needs,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the governor’s office staff thanked God for ensuring his victory at the polls and pledged to redouble their efforts in making him succeed.