Ban and Tax-Why Nigeria isn’t working
“We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself by the handle.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Nigerians made a callous mistake, in 2015, one of such mistakes now threatens to turn the hand of the nation retrogressively to the dark ages. It is quite an unfortunate situation what our very country has turned into, economically, we are in shambles, we have a government which started the mantra “Ease of Doing Business” which turned out to be a farce, because their economic policy is the direct opposite, “Frustrate you out of business”. At first, small and medium scale enterprises faced the harsh economic conditions alone, by navigating the paths of the government policies henchmen alone. But in the past few months, it is important to note that even the big businesses are now facing the same harsh conditions, the government constantly wielding the weapons of “Ban and Tax” because they feel it is a fast way to economic development since they are lazy enough not to think out favourably economic policies. There are two situations where harsh economic policies, drove out irresponsible governments and started several revolutions which changed the political structure of the countries, but I doubt if Nigerians are ready to go in such a direction or make conscious decisions towards political and economic progressive growth.
The French revolution of 1789, marked the end of the French monarchy which favoured only the elites while over-taxing the lower class, this simple yet complex series of revolution caused a great shift in the French political structure forever. Revolutions simply happen when the political or ruling class, fail to feel the pains of those they swore to serve. Similarly, the American revolution of 1775, also marked the revolt of the Americas against the British monarchy, whose policies barely favoured their colonies. Analysing both countries and cases concisely, you would see and understand the impacts of bad government policies on the masses and the country as a whole. These two examples showed how a group of people, took their destinies in their hand and took the “bull by the horn”. One major thing I’ve come to realize in recent times when it comes to Nigeria is that a number of my countrymen are lazy thinkers and lazy readers, who will rather believe pseudo-intellectuals who will easily sway them with words and appearance than actual persons who have the right ability to influence change, and it is of little surprise that every four years we keep voting the same crop of leaders, our voting strategy is simple, choose the “Lesser of two evils” without us understanding that there is no less of evil because evil is simply evil, no negotiations and the only way to uproot evil is by a conscious reawakening, but when you have a population of above 200 million individuals divided among ethnic and religious barriers by the ruling class, the result is “Nigeria”.
The major mantras of the ruling party were, “Ease of doing business and Buy and Grow Naija” but in recent years these mantras slowly went into oblivion, and it is tougher to do business in Nigeria daily, today talk less of even trying to buy a Nigerian made goods, the past few months saw the Lagos state “Okada and Keke” ban which frustrated several foreign and Nigerian based bike hailing services, many of such companies, losing millions of naira in investment, the most annoying aspect from the whole debacle was when no reasonable, alternatives were provided for commuters and citizens of the state, this shows the level of callousness by our leaders towards the welfare of the masses, as if that wasn’t enough, the fares of the remaining transport services increased exponentially, while other cab-hailing services threatened by extreme taxes, still the people grumbled, and continued persevering as it is our usual attitude. Several means of taxations have also been implemented over the past couple of weeks, by both the state and the federal government, the citizens are paying taxes on everything, whenever they refuse to pay, their businesses are threatened with a ban. We simply are ruled by one policy, “BAN and TAX” that oftentimes I worry that maybe our “breathes” would soon carry a tax price tag. Our ruling class simply failed to understand that taxation, although contains a great number of merits towards the economic growth of a country, on the other hand for a country like Nigeria, where her citizens, provide every basic infrastructure and social amenity themselves, taxation should be the last resort, because even with the heavy taxes we can’t simply boast of the basic infrastructures, such as; good roads, electricity, water, schools etc. We need our society to be friendly for both foreign and local investments and the market should be fragmented, most importantly, the government shouldn’t be doing business, the only responsibility of a government should simply be about making sustainable economic policies that favour all the players in the society. They must understand that their duties, as leaders or government, is to serve the “office of the citizenry” which is the most powerful office in any democracy.
The only way forward would be for the people to demand their rights through non-violent means. And yes, I basically understand that we are gradually becoming a police state, and all form of civil demonstrations and protests are seen basically as treasonous felonies, with death and “Gestapo” style arrests being the major punishments and since, no one is ready to die yet, including myself, maybe I should then suggest that we sit tight and keep persevering till a price tag is kept on our basic human rights and oxygen. We all must do our part to ensure that our society is sustainable enough to support the growth and development of future generations of Nigerians, it starts if we do our part today, lets simply ask the right questions and do the right things, this country is the responsibility of all of us, not a select few.
P.S: I won’t take any responsibility for how you wish to interpret this article, the above article, is my sole opinions and thoughts. Thank you.