Written by Austine ELEMUE

Multiple taxation: Private school owners battle FCTA

Indications have emerged that war is brewing between the Federal Capital Territory Administration and operators of private schools in the nation's capital over alleged multiple taxation imposed on private school owners. 

The group under the aegis of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS, FCT chapter, has warned that henceforth multiple taxation on private school owners which it said was unacceptable will be resisted. 

President of NAPPS in the FCT, Hajia Samira Jibir, handed down the warning during a stakeholders meeting organised by the FCT Education Secretariat and the Universal Basic Education Board to review cases of frequent road accidents involving pupils in private schools. 

"We are particularly concerned about unresolved issues especially relating to the Federal Capital Territory Authorities and area council revenues which continually interfere with our business activities. We have sued for harmonization of all taxations and fees through FCT-FIRS, National Assembly, Joint Tax Board, Area Councils and other relevant organisations without solution, rather we always have rude officers going round our schools. 

"In most scenario, school owners are threatened with school closure and in few cases some schools are closed down by every sector that come to our schools for levies. This is very unfair and unacceptable as we are Nigerians contributing immensely to the education gap and reducing unemployment which is the bane of conflict, poverty, youth destruction, under-development and growth," she affirmed. 

Jibir, however, regretted that for over 15 years, both the FCT administration and operators of private schools are yet to make a headway on the issue of school land allocations, stressing that most schools have eventually secured expensive loans from commercial banks to acquire school plots, which translates to high running costs of private schools. 

According to her, "more disheartening is that most schools in area councils are yet to perfect title deeds of legal mortgages due to unclear bureaucracy from AGIS". 

She also observed that admission systems in schools are not in compliance with the established UBE standard, noting that almost all the schools run a personalized 8 or 7 years Basic Education, instead of the 9 years Basic Education structure. 

"Most students do not complete the Middle Basic Education class (3 years from primary 4-6), but skip primary 5 class to J.S 1. Primary 6 classes have disappeared from our schools and Nigeria is probably the only nation in the world not complying with the Universal Basic Education," she regretted. 

In his response, the FCT Secretary of Education Secretariat, Sen. Isa Maina, described the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools as valuable strategic partners in the education sector of the FCT, while emphasizing that quality assurance should be of paramount interest to the school operators. 

 

"I was amazed to learn that 556 private schools were shut down by the Department of Quality Assurance in 2016. With such huge number of defaulters, it leaves one wondering what the overall situation of private school management in the FCT was like," Maina stressed. 

 

 

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