PROBLEMS associated with multiple taxation are almost as old as Nigeria. The authorities do not think Nigerians are paying enough, Nigerians counter that they would not provide more resources for governments to mismanage.
A disturbing trend in the tax regime of some States, borders on human rights violation. Some States are taxing people for providing for themselves basic services that governments do not provide.
Before now, there was this ridiculous news from Abia State that government was collecting taxes from citizens for digging boreholes in their compounds to procure water in the absence of adequate water supply from public sources. Some residents of Abakaliki in Ebonyi State protest over the N15, 000 monthly tax the State has imposed on owners of generating sets. Government sources claim that the money realised from this tax is used to address the problems arising from the pollution the generators cause.
How much do people in Ebonyi State earn for them to pay tax of N180, 000 on water or electricity?
It is the primary function of government to provide water, power supply, security, education, health and other needs of the citizens. That is why citizens line up behind politicians and their political parties to surrender their sovereignty in exchange of good governance. Citizens only resorted to procuring generators, boreholes and other necessities of modern living due to persistent failure of leadership and governance.
Imposing taxes on citizens for providing basic amenities in the face of failure of governance is inhuman, oppressive and condemnable. It worsens the already existing problems of multiple-taxation. It shows that people in government are now beyond shame that the citizens are being driven to provide for themselves amenities that people in other climes take for granted because their taxpayers’ money is properly deployed to serve the people right. It is a pity that the various state Houses of Assembly have abdicated their duties to curb the excesses of the executive branch, and in most cases, actually pride the legislation used to oppress the people.
We call for immediate stop of the generator and borehole taxes, and other obnoxious taxes in the name of internally generated revenues until governments provide public power and water. Governments must restrict themselves to regulate borehole drilling and the use of generators to enhance safety and protect the environment. Funds for environmental protection are appropriated annually to each State. There is no further need to extort money from the ordinary folks struggling to survive.
Government officials must do away with the colonial mentality of treating fellow citizens with utter contempt.
It is ridiculous for government to fail in its duties and still punish those who find ways round governments’ comatose inducing policies.