PETROLEUM and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has rejected the plan by both the Federal and state governments to tax pensions, gratuities and terminal benefits of workers in the country.
The umbrella body for senior staff in the oil and gas sector vowed to resist the implementation of the plan, contending that it will further impoverish Nigerian workers.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, PENGASSAN condemned the unilateral decision by the Federal Inland Revenue, FIRS, and States Internal Revenue Service, to act outside the provisions of the Federal Tax Laws thereby infringing on the rights of the workers.
PENGASSAN, in the communiqué by its PENGASSAN President, Francis Johnson and General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, condemned the plan by governments, especially the Lagos State Government and its agent, the Lagos State Inland Revenue Service LIRS, to tax workers’ gratuities and terminal benefits.
According to the communiqué: “The NEC-in-Session calls on all workers, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, and other labour unions to reject and resist the planned taxation of pensions, gratuities and terminal benefits.
The NEC-in-Session notes that the planned taxation will further deplete workers’ final entitlements and increase poverty in the country and explains that this can also shorten the life span of workers in the country.”
PENGASSAN also condemned the actions of the Joint Tax Board, JTB, and some state boards of Internal Revenue for illegally harassing employers from processing additional pensions and life insurance tax reliefs by workers as enshrined in the law, saying “The NEC-in-Session therefore states that the law on Personal Income Tax can only be amended by an Act of the National Assembly or clarification via interpretation by the Judiciary, and it would resist the self-help approach being adopted by the tax bodies.”