DODGING tax is a huge crime that can land offenders in prison in developed countries, but according to the saying: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’ This, therefore, explains why everything is working well in these developed countries. They have good road networks, uninterrupted power supply, efficient transportation system, good education and health systems, among others. In essence, we can say that the citizens of these countries are getting back what they are paying as taxes. However, the same cannot be said about Nigeria.
Our tax system is structured in such a way that taxes are deducted from the salaries of workers, but the millions of people who work in informal sector like traders, farmers, bricklayers, mechanics, among others are expected to pay their taxes themselves to the government, but most of these people simply do not pay taxes.
The sensitisation on the need to pay taxes has been on for several years now, even before the economic downturn. At that time, government was earning huge pay from the sale of oil, and it cared less whether the people paid taxes or not. However, with the recession biting harder, the government has woken up to the fact that it can generate enough from taxing its citizens, but there is a problem here. While the going was good, successive governments didn’t do those things that will improve the lives of the people.
Nothing seems to be working in the country; the road networks are bad, health, education, security, among others are in terrible shape. The issue of corruption is even more annoying, with public office holders mismanaging our commonwealth.
The truth is that there are no encouraging signs for the people to pay their taxes, but one good thing is that this government is serious about correcting the mistakes of the past, and when the citizens see the steps it is taking, then they will willingly pay their taxes.
- James Nugwa,
Lokoja, Kogi State.