There is no doubt the fact that Nigerians are passing through hard times, occasioned by the slump in the global price of oil. Many families can no longer boast of good living; workers are the worst hit since government, particularly the local and state governments, are owing several months of salaries. This non-payment of salaries has trickled down to other sectors, and it is affecting everybody in the country, including artisans, market women, businessmen and private organisations.
Despite the bailout fund from the Federal Government, many states in the country continue to struggle to pay their workers’ salaries. The dwindling federal allocation, poor innovation on internally generated revenue (IGR), bloated workforce and fraud-riddled workers’ payroll, are the main reasons behind the inability of these states to pay workers’ salaries.
As a result of this, many Nigerians have been contributing their opinions on how to overcome the situation. What I want to suggest is the need for the governors to improve their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), while also curbing the menace of ghost workers, which jerk up salaries astronomically.
I must admit that many states, according to recent report in the media, do not have flourishing economic activities that can boost their IGR. However, in order to generate more from taxes, we need citizens who will be willing to go to the government to pay their taxes. Unfortunately, the country’s history of corruption and inefficiency is the major impediment towards realising this. Many Nigerians look at their environment — no good roads, no standard school system, no healthcare centres, among others, and feel it does not really make sense to pay taxes since the funds will be stolen.
With this, Nigerians are skeptical of their obligations to states’ taxes and levies. States can generate more revenues and wealth through levies and taxations, but the people need to see what government does with their money.
In essence, the people will only be committed to a government that is also committed to their welfare. In the midst of the misappropriation of funds that we are hearing everyday, no Nigerian will willingly go and pay his tax if he is not sure the money will not be stolen.
- Nafisat Suleiman Muhammed,
Benue State University,