Economic hardships: Reconsider 5% tax on private schools, parents urge Wike
Parents in Gwagwalada and Bwari Area Councils, FCT, have appealed to Minister of FCT, Nyesom Wike, to reconsider the five per cent tax imposed on private schools in FCT.
The parents in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja said that the tax was insensitive and inappropriate, especially with the current economic challenges.
NAN reports that the FCT Minister recently approved the implementation of tax on payable school fees in all private schools in the FCT.
Under this new tax regime, each school would be billed according to tuition paid by pupils/students and the number of enrolments.
Mr Adebayo Ebeneza, a civil servant, said that the tax was uncalled for, especially at a time Nigerians were faced with hardships.
He said that government kept introducing policies that inflicted pains on the masses instead of finding solutions to alleviate the pains.
“Of what benefit is this tax; they are indirectly punishing parents because at the end of the day, it is parents that will pay the tax.
“As a civil servant, my salary has not increased in the past years, yet cost of living keeps skyrocketing on a daily basis. I feel this is very insensitive and uncalled for.
“I am appealing to the government to reconsider their stand and reverse the tax for private schools.
“It is not about the school but about too many challenges Nigerians are facing at the moment,” he said.
Mrs Zainab Sule, a businesswoman, opined that the current economic situation might force some parents to withdraw their wards from private schools.
Sule, however, said that government-owned schools were not an option because they have their challenges as well.
“With the rate of strike in government schools, I cannot imagine taking my children to any government schools, especially the primary schools.
“What value is the government adding to these private schools that they are imposing five per cent tax on fee; I am not sure these schools benefit anything from government.
“Government should have a rethink concerning this policy and the effect it will have. Nigerians are really struggling to make ends meet now,” she said.
Similarly, Mrs Lucy Ademola, a tailor in Bwari town, said that the FCT should proffer sustainable solutions to curb the menace of out-of-school children, rather than introduce frustrating policies.
Ademola said: “When you come to the area councils, you find many out-of-school children roaming around in the communities when they are supposed to be in school.
“The government should look for a way to send these kids back to school, not trying to bring out those that are opportuned to be in school.
“If people in the city centre can afford it, what happened to people in the communities, especially those small private schools.
“This not the time for such, for the sake of what Nigerians are going through presently, the minister should withdraw this policy.”
Another parent, Mr Tony Adejo, a driver, said that incessant strike by public school teachers pushed him to enroll his children in a private school.
He said although he struggled to pay the fees for four of his children before now, any addition in school fees might be discouraging.
“I am just pleading with the minister to change his mind; we are the ones that will suffer it not the school.
“They are not being fair to the masses with some of these policies; they do not even consider us before bringing such charges.
“Government needs to know that we are also looking for this money they are desperately trying to generate. How do we give what we don’t have,” he said.
A memo by the Head of Account, Department of Quality Assurance of the Education Secretariat, Mudi Muhammed, said the development would take effect from January 2024. (