NewsTaxationOn Prof. Soludo’s Government Harp on Taxation

There is something going on with the current Anambra State government and it might not serve the best interests of the government. Interestingly, while many may not have taken note of it, it is having a far-reaching impact on the governed, and the government and might influence the politics of the coming years. There could even be social repercussions in the form of resistance, given the fragility of the economy which has forced many people to barely survive.

In the past few months, there have been sustained media reports of how Soludo’s government is demanding one form of taxation or another from the populace. Various government agencies appear to be jumping on the issue of taxation and revenue generation as if there is a mandate given by the governor on that. Only yesterday, there is yet another news report on the payment of N100, 000, to be able to paste burial posters. For whatever reason, this increasing emphasis and reportage on taxes and levies will box the government into a tight corner.

Taxation, of course, is a major source of government revenue and the government needs resources to be able to perform. Yet, government ought to be the centre of gravity in any organized society. Hence, the government must balance its statutory rights against the prevailing circumstances of the governed. Although I have not been updated with any information about “forceful” payment of taxes or levies, by residents under this administration. However, the frequent news story hammering on payments will earn the government the title of ‘tax collector’ alongside the benefits of such a title.

Tax collectors never have favourable ratings or dispositions towards the paying public. Admittedly, if politics was not involved, it may not matter if people like what the government and its agencies are doing or not. But again, if it were not an elected government, it may not matter what people think or say about a government that is working hard to raise money and undertake profitable projects for the state.

Therefore, the government may need to look at other possible options in educating members of the public on tax and levy payments. Including their general stake in their government and responsibilities as citizens. But constant news stories alleging all sorts of demands for different kinds of taxes and levies should be discouraged, so that the government does not waste its goodwill on something as uncertain as this.

At the moment, many people in Anambra State are hunted by bad roads. Flooding is ravaging a considerable number of riverine communities. There is economic hardship and although the security situation has improved, yet, insecurity is still a concern. I can thereupon hazard a guess that what the people, the majority, want now is to see the government fixing maybe, the road beyond tokenism. Doing it. Perhaps, that’s an easy way to make a lasting impression on taxation in this state. If people can relate with what government does with the money they are asked to pay, it might be easier to get them to comply and pay.

In the end, it might be imperative to note that so many businesses are under the stress and weight of the economic downturn. In a typical scenario; all things being equal, a man will spend money on the people he loves, if he has. But when asked from the same man, if he doesn’t have, it could lead to a crisis that will require third-party intervention. One may theorize that there is a venom that economic hardship triggers. Therefore, something different must suffice in the tax drive of the administration so that the government can effectively discharge its dual essence of providing political and governance direction for the state.

Ebuka Onyekwelu (Staff Writer)
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