Article written

  • on 02.09.2015
  • at 11:00 AM
  • by Naomi Cohen

How multiple taxation hinders women in business 0

Women entrepreneurs in Nigeria face different types of hurdles which they often negotiate on their way to success. Despite these obstacles, they are thriving in their businesses and contributing their quota to both family and economic growth.

One of the major challenges Small and Medium Scale Enterprises face is that of multiple taxation. Operators of these SMEs in which women are the majority have at one time or another lamented the indiscriminate imposition of taxes by the three tiers of government and other agencies.

The Federal Government has not been able to successfully tackle the issue, thereby forcing most of these businesses to shut down.
In many developed countries, SMEs are being exempted from paying taxes through tax holidays for a couple of years to enable the business grow, the case is different in Nigeria.

Sometime last year, the African Women Entrepreneur (AWP) Network convened a roundtable of young women entrepreneurs in Lagos, Nigeria, to discuss some of the challenges they face.

These women identified five key areas that need urgent attention of policy makers to systematically transform the environment for small businesses as well as help to reduce the cost associated with doing business in Nigeria.

Among the identified problems is the issue of tax credits and incentives to support small businesses. This they said may help to reduce the cost of operating a business in Nigeria. Each state in this emerging economy should have an entrepreneurial incentive program. Various tax credits and business incentives should be provided at the local, state, and federal levels. These women suggest that policy makers should have a dedicated personnel or agency to identify the necessary tax incentives and help entrepreneurs navigate through the process of applying.

Women, especially those in the informal sector are said to often bear the brunt of this problem of taxes due to the ignorance of their tax obligations and the amount expected to be paid.

Ignorance of tax obligations, particularly in the informal sector, is one of the challenges militating against business success, Ife Adedapo of APW said.

“Inadequate knowledge of tax and levies obligations by business managers, especially those in the informal sector, has left some of them at the mercy of people who pose as tax officials and exploit them.”

It has been learnt that most tax collectors play on the ignorance of most business owners and impose exorbitant taxes and levies on their businesses.

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by Olayemi John-Mensah and Latifah Opoola

Photo Credit: Flickr/Women’s World Banking

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