THE Federal Government should come to the rescue of Nigerians by providing an environment that is enabling for good living. What Nigerians are asking from the government is enduring dividends of democracy that will make life better and more reassuring.
This is why most Nigerians are passionately pleading with the government, the Federal legislators and relevant stakeholders to pause and take a second look at the long term adverse implications of the proposed Communication Service Tax Bill.
Yes government seeks to raise N20 billion monthly through the CST in order to shore up its revenue, but the truth is that, the tax will further compound the suffering and pathetic socio-economic situation of the vast majority of the people.
Imagine the monumental amount of money that an additional nine per cent charge on voice calls, SMS and Whatsapp will take away from the meagre income of an average worker or poor trader.
Imagine the cumulative sums of money an average family will be forced to part with any time they renew the subscription of their pay TV services. This new tax that is being proposed can only add on to the hardship of the masses.
The trajectory of this tax is to turn pay TV services, among others, which had somewhat become affordable into luxury items like it was in the late 90s.
Why would government want to impose more hardship on the people by imposing new taxes on them? Is taxing the citizens far beyond tolerable limits the way out of paucity of funds to run a government? Why would government tax the calls that people make, the SMS they send, the Pay TV already paid for? Why must it be the helpless and innocent Nigerians who would bear the brunt of the country’s economic misfortune caused by profligacy?
While ordinary Nigerians are over-taxed and burdened by high cost of goods and services, high foreign exchange and unpaid salaries, political appointees are smiling to the bank.
Our legislators earn jumbo salaries and allowances; they buy exotic vehicles and luxury houses within and outside the country, while the downtrodden are being pauperised by government’s unfriendly policies like the planned nine per cent service tax on telecommunication services. What has been done with the recovered looted funds?
Nigerians did not bargain for this; people voted overwhelmingly for a government that would bring positive “change.”
Many Nigerians are currently finding it difficult to live within their earnings with this hyper-inflation. It is rather unfortunate to read about some of our fellow compatriots who committed suicide in recent past as a result of the unbearable economic conditions they found themselves.
The Federal Government and the National Assembly sincerely need to halt the CST Bill and look for more creative ways to raise funds in the overall interest of the country.
- Nike Orimolade,