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Tinubu Cries Bloody Murder - Nigeria Bans Tax Contractors

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No matter how some of us feel about Governor Emeritus Tinubu, the powerhouse of Southwestern Nigerian politics, he may have finally met his match under Okonjo-Iweala. Ban on tax contractors has been discussed and digested only to be forgotten because nobody implemented it. In spite of this writer's differences with Ngozi, she is dead right on this one. There are different ways to skin a cat; you can also hang it by the balls.

The reason for the implementation of this tax policy is even more economically sound than the political motive. Yeah, it's like everybody was speeding but only one person get caught and brought before the court. Once the Nigerian Police get a good grip of this tax policy, most of the people violating people's meager pockets by demanding taxes in every nook and corner of Nigeria must be severely dealt with.

We cannot be against taxes as long as the money is well spent on services the people can be proud of. Most of the Scandinavian countries and Canada pay high taxes and they are rewarded accordingly. Nigerians are taxed for even waiting at the bus stops by different thugs that are actually Political contractors. They introduce illegal levies or tolls and employ thugs who too many times punish citizens to enforce compliance.

It is not that we sympathize with Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) in the country since they do not pay the lowest workers enough in wages but they complain of multiple taxes and levies country-wide. 79 different taxes they claim is an exaggeration. That taxes prevent expansion and were responsible for the shutdown of businesses and relocation to neighboring countries is the usual cry of businesses everywhere.

What we cannot ague with is that multiple taxations increase the cost of doing business in Nigeria, discourages local trade and investment and also gives a negative perception of the Nigerian business environment. Foreign investors in Nigeria have already taken into account the fat profit they make which is impossible to make anywhere else. This is the reason they tell one another to hold their noses and make a killing in profit.

There is no reason to dispute World Bank report which indicates that for every 100 naira that businesses have to pay in taxes, they pay about 35 naira in compliance costs by taking Federal, State and local taxes into consideration. We also know that most of them if not all, never report their true profit. It is well hidden in gross cost. The oil companies are good example. They will rather declare profit to their governments than to Nigeria.

When it comes to harmonization of taxes and levies across the Federation, it is overdue. There are too many cooks in the kitchen. By the time you count tax collectors, mafias demanding protection money, government officials collecting bribes not to mention traffic and police officers extortion; you wonder how Nigerian small businesses survive.

Lekki Toll booths are just a symptom of greater malaise affecting the whole Country. How individual states and political godfathers get away with it for so long is nauseating, to say the least. Despite protest by the young and old people across Lekki road that was built by Jakande, decorated with flowers by Fashola; they are bent on milking folks dry.

When fish farmers, stewards, maids, drivers, cooks and old pensioners that hardly receive their money in or on time complained, they were told it is not their business because they are not rich enough to drive cars. By that logic, one would think that old pensioners must not drive in and out of their houses because they bought houses around Lekki; or what non-drivers pay does not include toll levied on public transports.

Well, fish farmers, Jakande house owners and pensioners must sell their modest houses and move out of Ajah and Lekki areas to avoid paying tolls. If they ever live longer than the sale price of their properties, they should lie down and die, abi no be so!

Please do not underestimate Tinubu. There are plans in the works to sell some interest at inflated prices dictated by him in exchange for properties, expressways, tax collecting agencies and companies: back to Lagos State or even to others. All he has to do is get a bank to lend Lagos State the money and pay him off. By that transaction, he would have severed his connections, let others hold the bag. Nobody may trace the loss back to him.

This is turning out like the housing bubble that started in U.S causing economic collapse that led to world recession. What they did was inflate houses prices to those that could least afford it and get them bank loans knowing full well that it was backed by mortgage insurance. In this case Lagos State Government will be stuck with all the unsustainable highly inflated expressway and Eko Atlantic projects loans while Tinubu laughs to Bank.

You must remember those students that inflated their school fees with bursars breaking their father back on cocoa farms to enrich bursars (foreign contractors). Whenever we say it costs about a billion naira or one million dollars to build a kilometer of road in Nigeria, people think it is an exaggeration. In reality, newly awarded 127.6 km Lagos-Ibadan expressway reconstruction is expected to cost N1.30 billion per km. Lekki new road running about N3.5 to 4.15 billion naira per km. Yet, nobody probe or query them.

The people of Lagos must bestow an honorary Lagos State Citizen on Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. There are many people that deserve the honor but it is during her time that the determination comes to implement a ban on Nigerian Tax Contractors. There are other titles that can also be given to her in case she wants something different. Lagosians have to keep it in mind that there is nothing Tinubu has not given away as bribes in Lagos.

This is why it is important to pray for Tinubu so that he must not get sick or die. Lagos State has more to lose if anything happens to him than to gain. As long as he is around, he could be called upon to disgorge all his ill-gotten loot from Lagos State. Nobody in the whole wide world has ever gouged a state unscathed, as much as Tinubu.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Farouk Martins Aresa and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Farouk Martins Aresa