Stella Dimoko Weekend Arena - We Cant Breathe Cos The Knee Of Nigeria’s Economy Is On The Neck Of Her Citizens


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Friday, August 14, 2020

Weekend Arena - We Cant Breathe Cos The Knee Of Nigeria’s Economy Is On The Neck Of Her Citizens

We cant Breathe!!!!!

There are thousands of ideologies (documented and undocumented) on what the role of government should be. Two make a lot of sense to me. 

One was propounded by Scottish philosopher, Adam Smith in his 1776 phenomenal book, ‘Wealth of Nations’. Smith outlined three important functions of government: national defence, administration of justice (law and order) and the provision of certain public goods (e.g infrastructure). 

The other is more recent and was submitted by George W Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, who said, “I believe the role of government is to stand side by side with citizens to help them realise their dreams…”

In other words, government is constituted to protect and provide for the needs of the people. Government does not necessarily provide by availing hand-outs always, but by entrenching enabling environment for most, if not all, to thrive. This, in essence, is what distinguishes human populations from the animal kingdom. In the animal world for those who watch a lot of Nat Geo Wild, it is the ‘survival of the fittest’. Every prey is at the mercy of the predators. 

A lion can snatch whatever less powerful creature it can lay its claws on and devour it at will, according to its appetite. There are no meetings; there are no consultations or approvals, except in the folktales, for the excitement of children.

But humans are supposed to be much more organised, riding on nature’s benevolence to them in terms of intelligence or cranial capacity. Having advanced beyond the mediaeval stages of life to a more organised structure as governments at various levels present, it becomes worrisome to understand why certain policies of government, especially in Nigeria, should lack human face. The country has gradually slipped into a state where governments at various levels-local, state and federal now think their primary function is to generate revenues. While some people would argue that government needs funds to carry out its functions and fulfill its obligations to the citizens, it presents a worrisome outlook when the citizens begin to bear the brunt of governments target to meet their financial projections.

The Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board, woke up a few days ago to announce its plan to impose a tax on entertainers for their audio-visual works, not minding that this group of Nigerians, terribly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, have been out of employment, save from the Naira Marleys, who would dash in and out of Abuja to play a show, pay a fine, and keep the remainder. 

Stakeholders in the entertainment sector are complaining audibly that they pay income tax and have been wondering why any government with a human face would be thinking of additional taxes at this time. 

With the knee of the economy right on most Nigerians’ necks, (yes, comparable to George Floyd’s) the Federal Government has through the banks enforced sundry charges, unmindful that the citizens are paying more today for transportation, petrol, cooking gas, electricity and even food, as prices continue to soar in the markets, swimming (abi drowning?) in an unprecedented inflationary storm. For most of the citizens who lost their jobs due to the corona virus pandemic, the available solution is to use their cars (for the fortunate ones who own cars) for ‘Uber business’, but the Lagos State government, has also noticed that this could be another stream of income and has announced new licensing fees and taxes for the major operators and drivers in the sector, at a time when people are yet to fully adjust to the hardships. 

People argue that the government has only taxed the operators, the tycoons who own the business, without figuring that they (the tycoons) would reset their apps to pass the bills to the impoverished citizens.

This raise-money-at-all-cost disposition of government and some of her agencies sounds so disturbing when one hears the heads of certain agencies, whose preoccupation should not be to earn revenues for government, boasting about the burgeoning incomes they are making for the government and how they hope to increase it in the coming years. 

One of such agencies is the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB. JAMB, under Prof Ishaq Oloyede has consistently reported increased revenue accruals in spite of the fact that a lot of Nigerian parents are groaning under the cost of buying the entry forms as well as paying for other examinations littered on the way while their wards are seeking admission into tertiary institutions. There are post-UTME and the likes conducted by the institutions simply to make money off impoverished parents. JAMB, according to the act setting it up, was never empowered to earn revenues for government. If such an agency is making so much billions of Naira, then it points to the fact that the cost of buying the forms should be drastically reduced. 

At the rate this trend is going, one will not be surprised when the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC begins its revenue drive from young school graduates as well.

It is understandable that government needs to make money to be able to deliver on its promises, but what has been done with the oil revenues which have been rolling in all these years? It is a known fact that Nigeria pays her politicians (arguably) the most in the world, and it will be simply unfair to drain the blood of ordinary citizens in order to maintain the flamboyant lifestyles of a few people in government. That is absolutely unfair and should be the focus of whoever finds his or her way to Aso Rock as the President.

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  1. I had an interesting read and God help Naija

  2. Same old stories of woes, pain and suffering..๐ŸŽถ They leave sorrow, tears and bloood!๐ŸŽถ Them regular trade mark ๐ŸŽถMany leaders as you see them, na disguises dey oh, animal in human skin, animali put e tie oh, animali wear agbada, animali wear him suit o๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ

  3. Nigerians complain a lot, but given the
    slightest opportunity in same government or life,
    they loot.
    Was it the government that beat 4 robbers to death and
    stole all the monies they had taken from the banks?

    1. We still have honest people in this country. No doubt about the fact that our politicians are selfish and greedy.

    2. @Black slimzy
      If you are made a politician, e.g. appointment today,
      are you going to loot or just take the salary and go?
      think about it.

  4. The so called leaders do not care and can't be bothered. They are selfish and Insensitive.

    At a time when other countries are trying to cushion the impact of covid-19 on it's citizens, our own leaders are trying to make life unbearable for the citizens.

  5. This matter is something that when you keep thinking of, you might likely develop BP ๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ˜ช

    They don't care, and make sure that anyone in their midst that care for the citizens plight is silenced.

    You either join them, or you are boothed out of government, if you are miraculously elected.

    Look at Peter Obi and his likes, they will make sure they don't smell any government seat ,if they have any say in it, and as far as they are concerned ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    Oh God, please arise for the oppressed Nigerians ๐Ÿ™

    1. So true your first paragraph. Hmmmm, there was once a country truly ๐Ÿ˜ข

  6. That's how one annoying local government staff brought me one yeye tax, local government tax of 10,000 naira. I was more than angry that day. I told me to come back for it, I have planned that I will continue to tell them to come back.
    I don't know how much I'm gaining from what I am selling that will make them tell me to pay 10,000 naira, and they are giving others 3,000 naira o. Very annoying people.

  7. Why not first make a law that nobody 60yrs old or over can become the president? What the heck will old tired minds bring to the table. Nigerians love to elect men on their last lap of life as presidents, and expect something of value out of them. Some of these men can't even chew their own food properly, but you expect them to lead a country into prosperity๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคท

    1. Anon 15.39 the failure of a governor known as Yaya Bello of kogi state, is he an old man?

      The most Complex B

  8. Seriously we can't breathe. The condition of this country is choking a lot of people. The rich are getting richer, especially those in government, they are driving the masses crazy with excess tax and looting. God help us in this country, even the masses are mean to themselves too with selfishness and no empathy in their hearts towards another.


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