Ndi Anambra Tax Is Working For Anambra By Paul Nwosu

Paul Nwosu

When the Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, introduced the catchphrase “Your Tax Is Working For You” a number of people didn’t understand it. They thought it was one of those rhetorical stuff that is neither here nor there.

But Ndi-Anambra needed to appreciate the pivotal role of taxation in infrastructure development and the general welfare of the people. Aside from the rentier economy that we had enjoyed from when crude oil was discovered, taxation happens to be the age-long fiscal culture that governments depend on for revenue. It is constitutional. Conversely, taxation confers on the citizens the right and authority to hold the government accountable. In fact, a tax-paying citizen has the right to query his/her government over how money is spent.

Governor Soludo recognises this, which was why he had continuously said that he will account for every kobo that Ndi-Anambra put in his hands.

Going by the pervading joy and ecstasy across the land as new roads and public utilities are commissioned, no one can deny that Soludo has indeed made judicious use of public funds. Even political opponents openly acknowledge that he has done well.

The truth is that people are beginning to see what a sincere government can do with people’s taxes for their own good. There are now brand new roads where there were none. Ndi-Anambra have seen old and cratered ones patched neatly through the Zero-Potholes drive. Our people have seen flyover germinate at Ekwulobia and grow progressively. They have seen thousands of teachers and medical personnel employed in schools and hospitals that had little or none. They have seen idle youths trained in sustainable skills and provided with start-up grants. Truth is that they can see and feel tangible things that Governor Soludo has done with their money.

People tend to resist taxes and levies because they believe they’re merely throwing money away to fund the excessive indulgences of those at the top. But with Soludo in-charge, Anambra is different. Taxes and levies paid by Ndi Anambra are manifesting in discernible change.

Seeing is believing. Now that Ndi Anambra have seen, in concrete terms, what their tax can do, their only credible option is to continue to let their “Tax Work For Them”. But it’s when they pay their taxes that Soludo can do more.

Those collecting tax illegally are enemies of the public. They stuff their pockets with revenue that government would have used to improve the quality of living of the people.

When the administration of Governor Soludo came on board, one of the first things he did was to take a close look at the existing taxes and levies. His aim was to: first, reduce the tax burden on Ndi-Anambra. The second aim was to ensure that the minimum they will eventually pay comes into the coffers of the government so that the taxes and levies will be used to construct roads and generally develop the state.

Before now, apart from the formal sector where taxes such as payee, VAT, corporate and others which had been long structured by law and collected seamlessly, collection of revenue from the informal sector, especially transport operators in Anambra State, had been brutish and harsh. The collection was ruthlessly enforced with guns, axes, knifes and cudgels by middlemen and their goons who fixed the rates arbitrarily.

In the name of managing government revenue windows, as it was then called, they ended up lining their pockets with money that should go to government coffers. Of everything they collected, they merely remitted less that 2 percent to government, yet they didnt provide any essential services to the people.

So, while existing infrastructure suffered wear and tear, the largely informal sector of Anambra State was being bilked huge chunks of their income on daily basis in the name of tax and levy.

Today, taxes that Anambra people pay to government have been responsible for the massive infrastructural facelift that the state is now experiencing under the astute leadership of Governor Soludo.

The fiscal culture fashioned out by Mr. Governor is in tandem with every developed country that has been able to improve the quality of the lives of its people. Anambra can lead the charge of development in Nigeria given the size of the commercial and industrial concerns domiciled in the State.

The State has the right kind of human capital within and outside the country to make it happen. And we have a Governor with the political will and determination to make sure that your tax is transparently deployed.

We must face the hard reality that the era of oil money is fast coming to an end and its about time to firmly take our destiny in our own hands and show the world that we are indeed the Light of the Nation.

The joy is that the people are hearkening to Governor Soludo’s call. Tears nearly came to Mr. Governors eyes in Onitsha during the commissioning of Port Harcourt and Niger roads when a poor Onitsha bus driver broke through the security cordon to offer Governor Soludo some cash to build more roads!

Solution is here! Nowhere else!

Commissioner for Information
Anambra State

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