Learn From Canada Prime Minister

Former presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has called on President Bola Tinubu-led federal government and state governors to learn from Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, how to support Small and Medium Enterprises.

Peter Obi said too much tax on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria was also responsible for the slow growth of the country’s economy and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In a video posted on his X handle on Saturday, he said federal and state governments must learn to encourage small business owners like Justin Trudeau did in a video from the African Small Business Event in Toronto.

Leadership is simply about doing the right things, encouraging and giving citizens hope, especially younger ones who are involved in Micro, Small and Medium enterprises, and MSMEs, which are the greatest engine of growth.

“Just yesterday (Friday), the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, was at the African Small Business Event in Toronto, visiting the various business stands and encouraging them,” Obi said.

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Commenting on the video that showed Trudeau encouraging a Nigerian living in Canada, Jacinta Obinugwu – who was at her candle business stand at the event, Obi said small business owners in Nigeria do not get encouragement from their leaders but harassment from revenue collectors.

If Jacinta was in Nigeria, the only visit she would get from the government would be from different thuggery groups of revenue agents harassing her to pay one extortionist levy or another. As a small business owner, she would never have the opportunity of seeing the Local Government Chairman, or any high-profile government official,” he added.

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Obi said that Nigeria’s MSMEs are groaning under the burden of heavy taxation, lack of funding, high cost of production, dwindling sales caused by economic hardship and unstable government policies.

The former governor of Anambra State said a committed government must reverse the burden of too many taxes on SMEs and care for the poor by investing in the growth of the economy.

“Today, the MSMEs are groaning under the burden of heavy taxes, lack of access to funding, instability of government policies, high production costs and dwindling sales due to economic hardship. A committed leadership must not only reverse the unnecessary burden on small businesses but also focus on the needs of the people by caring for the poor and investing in the growth of the economy,” he added.

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Recall that the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, Taiwo Oyedele, had said “Africa’s large informal sector shouldn’t be targeted for tax extraction. Instead, it should be seen as a massive opportunity to drive growth and create wealth.”

Mr Oyedele, whose committee submitted a new tax policy to President Tinubu, said small businesses are seeds that should be nurtured for inclusive development in the medium to long term.

Think of these businesses not as fruits to be harvested in the immediate term, but as seeds to be nurtured for inclusive development in the medium to long term,” he said on Monday, June 24.

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