The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Bola Tinubu, has called for the immediate suspension of Value Added Tax (VAT), and the reduction of tax in the country.
He made the call as part of measures the Federal Government can apply to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on citizens.
In a message on his 68th birthday, Tinubu said the government may have to take tougher measures to curb the spread of the disease such as imposing lockdowns in Nigeria, as done by most countries battling the scourge.
He believes the immediate suspension of VAT will help lower import costs and protect against shortages.
The former governor of Lagos State also advised the government to consider providing stipends for vulnerable Nigerians who would be most impacted by the health crisis.
He proposed food security, lower interest rates, quantitative easing, and debt suspension, as other measures to ease the effect of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy.
The APC leader asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to be prepared to enact extraordinary measures, should the financial sector exhibit any form of stress.
“The CBN should be prepared to give banks liberal access to its loan discount window to ensure adequate liquidity within the banking sector,” he said.
A United Front
Tinubu also requested that the Cash Reserve Requirement for banks should be revised downward while the apex bank should be willing to expand its balance sheet and improve liquidity by purchasing government bonds and other instruments held by banks and other institutions.
He called for unity and peaceful co-existence among the people, saying this was the only way to win the fight against coronavirus which has killed thousands of people across the world.
The former governor urged Nigerians, whether of APC or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) affiliation or from the North or South to ignore their differences and join the efforts in curtailing the spread of the disease.
He said, “We have entered a sobering period. We face a challenge we cannot see but one that can find us all too easily. As individuals, this puts every one of us at a startling disadvantage. Each is rendered vulnerable by the reckless act of his neighbour.
“Each is made safer by the enlightened conduct of a stranger. The very nature of this assailant calls us toward greater unity and kindness. In the normal push of our daily affairs, we tend to focus on what divides us. We are either APC, PDP or another political affiliation.”
“One person is rich. Another is poor. There is the labourer then there is the boss. One person is of the North, another of the South, with both often acting as if the boundary between the two cannot be traversed.
“We are of different ethnic groups; these identities mean so much to us that we behave as if the affiliations are the very source of our humanity. In this, we tend to forget God.
“I, therefore, tender these humble comments in the hope they contribute to halting the spread and ill consequences of this dreadful sickness,” Tinubu added.