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Of Bank Charges Taxes, Levies And Corruption In Nigeria

By Mike Akpati
Mike Akpati
Mike Akpati
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In time past it was thought and said that IF NIGERIANS DO NOT KILL CORRUPTION, CORRUPTION WILL KILL NIGERIA. At another time, it was said that the only thriving business in Nigeria is corruption! Right now, it is obvious that we have reached the end of the game and the obvious negative results and expectations are great free falls properly being encouraged by lopsided government policies and appointments meant to either encourage out right fraud in every clime, encouraging more corruption, or at least ensuring that the poor get poorer if not extinguished!

Never in the annals of Nigeria’s developement has corruption reached this ignoble height, yet the government remains its greatest promoter.

It became necessary to document these facts if anything, to confirm that the current APC government has no provision for the poor who they clamoured to save, but are brazingly robbing every minute of the day

Never has the poor in Nigeria been so taxed, levied and abused financially than now! Never has there been claims and impunity in corruption than it is practiced today. The shock is that the government looks elsewhere on every issue in the fight against corruption! The same war they claimed to have had a war chest to fight with everything in their arsenal. But alas, we are in deeper trouble than ever before even as I write.

In time past, journalists had to be very investigative to crunch out what seem to be facts. Not so these days. Shameless ministers and men in authority are tired of smoke screen. They do not only tell it to us now to our bare face, but even how they stole and with whom, when and where and how much!!!

Fast forward to the present. It took almost three years of this government to negotiate the minimum wage of the civil servant which finally arrived at THIRTY THOUSAND NAIRA! (N30,000.00) An amount not even sufficient to feed a domestic Cat or Dog! But even as I write, this figure is not been paid in most states of the federation for the reason that all states are crying of fund insufficiency. So wait lets see who is the master deceitful planner and executor.

In Nigeria, typical salary earners/businessmen are taxed by the banks for saving and withdrawing their money; sending and receiving SMS; ATM services; inter bank transfer; monthly deductions; Cheque book/leaf; corporate withdrawals; Cash processing fees; Current account maintenance fees; Stamp Duty to mention but a few. In fact you are almost charged a fee for standing in queue in hot sun or rain waiting for your turn in almost all the banks! Yes, it is even a great privilege to be attended to in the banks as one of the certainties nowadays is that except you are rich, the length of time you spend in banks is not predictable.

The Federal government has established taxes and levies, so are the states and local governments. Unions , Associations and Clubs subject the same payer from the same source have turned the poor masses and salary earners to economic trees that is tapped daily without recourse to their state of health, strength or weakness. Now, they are being bled to death and the looters are not in any frame of mind to appreciating the goose that is laying the Golden eggs.

How are our income earned as a nation and how are the funds applied? We already know that our legislooters earn scanderous salaries and remunerations; we already know that they are the same group who have over site function and so supervise ministries under them, which gives them the impunity to award themselves choice contracts, gets paid upfront irrespective of the job having been done, in the same vein, they too have flooded the ministries, departments and agencies with applications and employment of mostly unqualified relations as candidates unannounced.

Today, the only thing that is not taxed or levied in Nigeria is the air we breath! Water which is free has been polluted so much that people no longer trust the source of government provided water and have resolved to self provision of Boreholes. That too is to be taxed. Yes, since we are not crying that our water board and ministries are not providing us with water, that is a comfort zone! We must be made to pay for getting water from God? Thank God air is not sold or else even the rich would not have been able to affording it. (think of those using ventilators now)

A typical Nigerian pay personal tax – deducted at source; pays for electric cables, pole and meter to qualify for supply of electricity which is supplied at best 10% monthly and are subjected to pay for services not rendered! If bills are not paid, the cables are cut off and returned to the office of the electricity providers! Not the home of the Landlord Association who organised his co-landlords to pay and buy the services already provided for in the ministries budget!

Dare to import goods from overseas and you pay at least 60% of the cost of the item in tax, levy and bribe to several unnecessary port agencies before your goods get out of the port to the open market. If you are a taxi driver or transporter, here is another ball game. After renewing your licences monthly or periodically, you have Union monthly, annual and daily dues and levies, Police bribe at every check point, then of course, touts of different description all these are thrown at the cost to buyers who must pay to exist not live!

The most recent of all the madness is the STAMP DUTY, FUEL PRICE INCREASE and others. Is the government bereft of ideas?

The government for lack of creativity and initiative has turned to these taxes and to kill the already bleeding publics who must pay stamp duty for any and every transaction with a ceiling in the banks, agencies and departments. Landlords are to pay in addition to property tax, Stamp Duty for rent received! What a mess we are in!

Having enumerated all the suffrage that a typical Nigerian passes through in the hands of those so called leaders it should interest you to know where all the funds so smartly collected are applied. One would have thought that we would have functional pipe borne water, good roads or even electricity, but alas all these fall back again to the taxpayer to either provide for himself or remain in perpetual lack of them. This is the singular reason I ask of the role of Ministry of Water Resources because there is hardly any urban house without Borehole (now to be taxed), Generator/(may be taxed soon for fume) and a Tokunmbo Jeep to rock off the lakes called pot holes on the roads in every city!

Now the latest fad.
Tired of the meager sum they steal, and seeing that the governments is not focused on them, most of the ministers, permanent secretaries and Directors decided to master the act of over invoicing and out right stealing of public funds. For instance, at the inception of this APC government, ministry officials were turning in unspent but budgeted funds in billions. Where are these funds now? Has the practice been stopped? It was proved at some point that NO FUND CAN BE MISAPPROPRIATED WITHOUT COLLUDING WITH THE SEATING PERMANENT SECRETARIES! Who among the officials has been probed? Have they stopped the looting?

The pain now is that those trusted with the fund to help develop their states and local governments have turned thieves for lack of other words to use. Here the current acts at the NDDC will readily come to mind. Nobody is now in doubt about the stealing galore everywhere unchecked or being swept under carpet. The question to ask now is simple. Is it better to steal and pay to officials of EFCC a percentage and get by or remain honest?

Honesty has proved to be a bad investment in Nigeria. I dare say that I will NOT change!

Seen from what ever perspective, the honest ones are the scorn of the people. Remaining integrity is a very dangerous character to market in Nigeria. Examples abound where a person with integrity who returns millions of Naira and or Dollars are given just certificate of appreciation! The civil servant who observes the proper time table in the offices are scorned at by their colleagues. Shun stealing in the office and the price you pay is that you do not even get your entitlements in your office!!! It is this bad!

Should we continue this way? Examples from other countries with far less wealth than Nigeria has proved that our only bane is leadership! Great leadership has caused Ghana to step up action in their fight to remain very independent nation relying on other nations on their own terms or nothing the same is Ruwanda to mention a few. The government has reduced or removed out rightly most taxes and levies to help cushion the effect of the economy, boost industrial development and increase employment. In faraway Ruwanda, the government is doing exploit in every sphere and are proudly expelling foreign nationals whose behaviours are not in consonance with their policies. Can we dare same here? Aside, they are fast becoming the economic hub in Africa. Should we mention South Africa? We already know that they are ahead of us in almost every sphere!

What is our problem? I have always asked – how much is actually sufficient in Naira and kobo terms to satisfy our quest for money and more money? What was the net worth of most of these thieves and pretending leaders before they ventured into politics? How many of them were people of means before becoming (dis)honorable? I am ashamed of you all.

Now the real issue. Where are the Civil Right groups who were engaged in removing former President Goodluck Jonathan? Are they all dead? Is Nigeria better now than before their very eyes? What has happened to the body language of the President? Were they all games? Well the game is up and I am looking for Chief Tony Momoh desperately. I want to cast my stone on him heavily. He, it was who told us that Nigerian should stone us if APC fails to deliver on her promises within six months!

Sir, how many times have you passed the streets of Lagos in recent time? What are the signs of progress in your town Auchi? I am happy that you are witnessing what is going on in your home state. Are you happy that one stark illiterate who could not visit your office in your time as full scale media man is now in charge of the affairs there? Are you excited at the level of lawlessness going on there?

I have not heard your voice or are you one of those in support of the ignoble acts? Shame on you and your likes who cannot even call those in authority to order given your privileged position in and out of government! I read your interview where you said that you almost fainted when former president IBB gave you, was it Ten Million Naira? Look back, are you proud of your association with these looters? Yet you are still quiet? I am ashamed!

Finally, Nigeria is for all of us NOT some of us. The leadership has failed woefully and they must admit it. But who bells the cat? I am looking as the struggle continues.

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Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Mike Akpati 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."