These days one should be careful about easily giving praises to men. For more often than not, we've had to eat our words! Particularly, when a man begins to receive accolades from all sorts of people, especially in Nigeria where mob psychology seem to have taken hold, a lot of people say things just because others are saying so. They are so mentally lazy as to reason out things themselves. Only God is good in totality. No man should be trusted hands down!
Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, the rave of the moment governor of Lagos State of Nigeria was on TV some days back. He was appreciating and commending individuals and firms for now voluntarily paying their taxes. A good civic development no doubt. But Mr Fashola should not be too quick to feel good about himself. Can he honestly say that he is not aware that the Personal Allowances, Children Allowances and Dependent relatives relief are not reflective of today's prices. While government over the years have made sure to upgrade the tax rate to favour the state, the components of the non-taxable income have remained as it was over 30 years ago :
1. Personal Allowance of 20% of income + N5000
2. Children Allowance of N2500 per child, maximum of 4 children
3. Dependent Relatives relief of N2000 per dependant relative, maximum of 2 dependants.
Now how could a sensitive government expect me to spend N2500 on each of my children per year. What can that amount cover of all expenses associated with raising children these days? Is it school fees which even Fashola's model nursery and primary school requires up to N40,000 per term ( not to talk of the private schools which ask of me up to N130,000 per term for a toddler in kindergarten class). Or is it going to be sufficient for health care needs of a child? Government, again of course having no reliable service of health care. Why would government have me keep less of my money when they give me no service in lieu?
Then the government expects me to spend N2000 per year on each of my aged parents - and you know, they usually are not our only dependants. Government has no program even for its retiring and retired staff, they often die while waiting hopelessly to be paid their retirement dues. So, how would they know one needs to provide for one's aged parents! And Fashola tells me he is a lawyer, that his regime has a human face. He is just like all the rest of them. His government officials are misappropriating money all around him e.g via the grass-root fund allocation, and he pretends he does not know.
Well, Fashola, it does not matter what the mouths of praise-singers say you are; if you are not, you are not!
Not that we advocate non-payment of tax, but how can members of your state assembly, for instance, get away with paying taxes less than N20,000 p.a while from some like us our employers extort over N35,000 per month in the name of tax. No one knows whether actually these monies really are sent to the government as deducted.
Bottom line is this , Mr Fashola, if I earn N5,000,000 in a year of diligent and honest sweating you'd be nuts to ask me to spend only N1,005,000 on myself, N10,000 on my 4 children; N4,000 on my aged parents and none on my wife, just so that you would have about N4,000,000 of it available to your cohorts to be taxed.
Government would seem to me to be wanting to reap where it has not sown.
The matter I have spoken of above is not only in Lagos State, it is nationwide since we all use the same tax law. Let those who make laws review this aspect of the tax law or do they want us to carry placards before they realize it is archaic. Still, why would they show concern - they do not really pay tax, and even the money realized into government coffers anyhow gets embezzled, anyway you look at it.
Since Mid-2007 the Central Bank of Nigeria together with the Securities and Exchange Commission ganged-up to forcibly close down a number of Fund Managing firms they had personal vendetta against. Appeal after appeal followed but the Government agencies always bullied and beat down the under-dog firms.
This July makes it exactly two years since the Central Bank Confiscated the investors' monies with these 'renegade' branded firms. However, no attempt has been made by the apex financial institution in Nigeria to return the money to the owners to this day. Sources even have it that the top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission have greedily converted these 'un-tagged' monies to their personal use.
How so like them!! Who would be the wiser? Officials daily steal government monies allocated for projects, and no one asks questions here. Who then would ask them about our monies, seeing they have already branded the Fund managers as ' wonder-banks'. Even the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is dead. Or was it ever really alive?!
But as God lives, those monies will be a curse unto them and all their own to a thousand generation unless they pay the monies back to every subscriber of the fund managing firms.