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Network restates committment to support Kaduna IRS on progressive tax regime

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Network restates committment to support Kaduna IRS on progressive tax regime

Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by Fellow Press

(Photo: 7th from L-R: Acting Executive Chairman of KADIRS, Mr Jerry Adams and the Coordinator of TJN Mr Simeon Olatunde in a group photograph with members of staff of KADIRS and TJN entourage on Thursday in Kaduna)

The Tax Justice Network (TJN) has restated its commitment to support the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS) for fair, just, equitable and progressive tax regime in the state.

The TJN is an association of individuals and groups interested in engaging issues related to tax justice and promoting a fair, just, equitable and progressive tax regime in Nigeria.

It has a spread across the sub-national level.

Coordinator of the network in Kaduna, Mr Simeon Olatunde, made the committment at a familiarisation visit to the Acting Executive Chairman of KADIRS in Kaduna.

Olatunde noted that the association had, in the previous administrations, helped the KADIRS in publishing and distributing Hausa tax handbooks and rebuilt Lere grain market.

He added that the network also organised media engagements, trained the KADIRS staff on redress mechanisms among other engagements aimed at ensuring progressive tax regime.

He said that with support from Christian Aid, Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn, (PERL), Actionaid and OXFAM, among other funders, partners and supporters, they were able to carry out activities in line with the TJN objectives.

Olatunde therefore said the network was poised to increase domestic resource mobilisation to sustainably finance development.

He also said they were poised in campaigning for more fair and progressive tax policies in Kaduna to reduce multiple taxation, corporate tax dodging and other harmful tax practices in the state.

Olatunde, however, lamented that there wa huge capacity gap between the tax administrators at the local and state level and continued apathy of citizens on governance and taxes.

He also lamented that only few organisations were interested in tax justice, due to poor tax knowledge and weak synergy between TJN and KADIRS as well as other revenue generation agencies.

The coordinator called on the government to invest more in technology in a way that appealed to the
informal sector that would help capture it into the tax net.

He also urged the government to develop Kaduna tax policy/ implermentation framework to strengthen transparent and accountable service delivery.

It should also strengthen a feedback mechanism where taxpayers can track the update of some of the concerns raised through any of the communication paths.

“Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service should provide toll-free lines to ease the
cost of tax payments on taxpayers and
revive the Ease of Doing Business Committee in the state,” he said.

He commended the KADIRS for its recent arrest of six gang members of illegal tax collectors in the state.

Earlier, the Acting Executive Chairman of the KADIRS, Mr Jerry Adams, said they had done a lot in ensuring seamless tax administration in the state.

Regarding awareness creation and monitoring, he said they could not do it alone unless with the help of CSOs like the TJN and many others.

Adams noted that ordinarily, people did not like paying tax, adding that the attitude was not peculiar to Kaduna but the entire nation and developing countries in general.

He, therefore, said that for people to pay tax, they needed to know why they were paying it.

“When the people pay tax, they become stakeholders and ask questions on what the money is used for,” he said.

The acting executive chairman described the governor of the state, Sen. Uba Sani, as a wellfarist, stressing that his policies came with human face.

On that premise, he said they were trying on making the tax regime flexible to ensure that people complied voluntarily.

“In doing that, we need to create awareness as the people will know that there is a symbiotic relationship between them and the Government.

“When citizens pay tax, we give the government for them to use in development of the state.

“Paying tax by the people also attracts investment which will give birth to employment. The number of graduates our institutions are churning out is very high and government does not have the capacity to absorb them all.

“We want more private sector’s investment in the state, the government will not be able to meet up with its promises if people don’t pay tax,” Adams said.

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Food shortage in Southwest will be calamitous– Yoruba Group

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Last Updated on June 16, 2024 by Fellow Press

A Yoruba socio-political group, Yoruba Commitment Forum (YCF) has raised an alarm about the looming food shortage in the South West region of the country.

The group said, though, the impending food insecurity is a national crisis, stressing that its impact on Yorubaland is going to be calamitous.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed by Otunba Hon Tayo Onayemi, Barr. Akeem Aponmade, Barr. Femi Mokikan, Otunba Niyi Sodiya, Mrs. Buky Tunde Oshunrinde and Mrs. Sola Maja, and made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

The YCF attributed the looming food shortage to the invasion and destruction of farmlands by rampaging Fulani herders.

The group, while calling for adequate security of farmers and their farmlands, equally appealed to the federal government to adequately compensate whose farmlands were destroyed and as well give them financial incentives, to encourage them to go back to farm.

The statement titled, “Nigeria’s headaches, food insecurity in Yorubaland”, read, “we have observed that for about seven years now, Fulani herdsmen have been engaging in a relentless destruction of farmlands and settlements in Yorubaland. These criminal Fulani elements resorted to kidnapping, raping, maiming and killing of farmers and Yoruba sons and daughters.

“Neither the governments at any level, nor Fulani herdsmen’s apologists would claim ignorance of the atrocious activities of these ruthless people. Video recordings of their wicked actions suffuse the internet. The end result is that farmers began to be scared off their farms gradually until now when farms have been completely abandoned.

“When this started years ago, foresighted individuals raised concerns; they warned about the potential danger of food insecurity beginning with rising food prices and the need to ensure a stable food supply. It appears that Southwest was deliberately targeted and the invasion of our farmlands was the execution of a conscious plan to starve our people to death.

“We, the Yoruba Nation agitators, cried out for help against the brazen onslaught, but none came from the federal government led by a Fulani man.

“Unfortunately, the hens have now come home to roost as the consequences of our action, and inaction, are now here for real with food shortages and very high prices making it increasingly difficult for our people to access the basic necessity of food.

“Before the current situation spirals out of control, we hasten to inform the government that there is no alternative to large scale farming which Fulani herdsmen have destroyed by waging a war against farmers. Subsistence farming through the backyards, as good as it is, cannot serve the purpose of assuring any people of food security. Farmlands in the South West must be made very safe.

“We state emphatically that the situation whereby a basket of tomatoes is sold for #4000 in the North while the same is sold in Yorubaland for #150,000 is callous, ruthless and unacceptable to us.

We also call for assistance to use cheaper rail transport among others to assist our market men and women. Other regions do this, why not here in Yorubaland?

“Secondly, governments must incentivise farmers whose investments have been destroyed during the war of attrition waged against them by Fulani terrorists. Without government’s financial assistance, there is no way most farmers will be able to go back to farming, even if security of their lives and new investments are assured”, the statement concluded.

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After 25 years, Nigerians yet to enjoy dividends of democracy — Northern Groups

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has called for sober reflection on Nigeria’s democracy and democratisation process as Nigeria marks 2024 Democracy Day and 25 years of unbroken democracy.

The CNG, in a statement by its national coordinator, Jamilu Aliyu Charanchi, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Abuja on Friday, claimed that democracy as it is being practised in Nigeria has failed to provide its dividends to the people after two and a half decades of its practise.

The pro-northern groups contended that despite the nation’s richness in natural and human resources, Nigerians continue to suffer from abject poverty and economic instability, which were not recorded even during military dictatorships.

It said that it is important to note that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the poverty rate in Nigeria stands at an alarming 63%, with over 133 million Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty.

“Similarly, the NBS disclosed that unemployment has reached a stunning 33.3% in the country, while youth unemployment is at an unprecedented over 50%, leaving young Nigerians devoid of decent jobs or sustainable means of livelihood.

“In the same vein, before returning to democracy, Nigeria’s inflation was just 10%, while now in a free democratic setting, inflation has risen to an all-time high of 33.69%, depleting people’s purchasing power and weakening their standard of living; whereas interest rate has sharply risen from 6.05% in 1999 to 26.25% in 2024, suggesting tighter monetary policy in the midst of high inflation and economic challenges.

“It is on record that the number of out-of-school children has increased from 7.4 million in 1999 to 18.5 million in 2024, highlighting a severe decline in educational accessibility over the past 25 years of our democratic engagements.

“Disgustingly, job racketeering to the highest bidder, inflating contracts, and kickback collection by political elites and senior civil servants have irrevocably decayed our civil service at all levels, resulting in the destruction of the fabric of Nigeria as a country with a lot of potential,” it said.

The CNG argued that these economic challenges are a direct result of years of mismanagement, corruption, and lack of genuine commitment to the development of the Nigerian economy by those who have sworn by the holy scriptures to promote good governance.

It said that unfortunately, over the years, the Nigerian economy has been bastardized and surrendered to the Bretton Wood institutions of the IMF and World Bank through the removal of subsidies in healthcare, education, energy, etc, adding that consequently, unpatriotic leaders and capitalist-backed technocrats who continued to propagate a free-market economy devoid of government interventions suddenly lose their voices and relevance.

It noted that the minimum wage has drastically decreased in value from the equivalent of $195 in 1981 to only $21.22 today, indicating a substantial erosion of purchasing power and economic hardship for low-income workers.

It also noted that fuel prices have seen a dramatic increase from N20 per liter in 1999 to N701.24 per liter in 2024, reflecting severe inflation and apparent antipeople economic policies from the beneficiaries of democracy since 1999, adding that diesel prices have surged to N1415.06 in 2024, which is significantly higher than in 1999, indicating a steep rise in energy costs.

“It is evident, therefore, that democracy in Nigeria only works for politicians and senior civil servants, while Nigerians continue to languish in poverty and misery.

“Suffice it to say that politicians, senior civil servants, and top defense and security heads have not only cornered the country to serve them but also are deploying their amassed wealth to restrict the dividends of democracy in Nigeria.

“It is regrettable that under democratic dispensation, destitution and pauperization have been deliberately entrenched in Nigeria due to the relegation of our economic planning and strategies to the dictates of capitalist, neoliberal, racist, and imperial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The CNG observed that the exchange rate of our Naira against the US dollar has depreciated drastically from N84.70 in 1999 to N1,479.69 in 2024, pointing to severe devaluation of the currency; public debt has escalated from around N3 trillion in 1999 to N97.34 trillion in 2024, highlighting a significant increase in the country’s borrowing and debt burden.

“Also, prior to our return to democracy in 1999, oil production has decreased from 2.21 million barrels per day (bpd) to 1.28 million bpd in 2024, indicating a decline in one of our major source of revenue.

“Tragically, according to the United Nations, over 35,000 have been killed in the North East insurgency under the watchful eyes of the leaders that claim to promote democracy. In the same vein, Global Observatory said about 15,000 have been killed in the North West alone.

“Additionally, millions of people, including women and children, have been rendered internally displaced persons (IDPs). This unprecedented catastrophe has been normalized in Nigeria’s democracy,” it said.

The CNG said it is rather despicable that our democracy in Nigeria has been hijacked by a select few who prioritize their personal gain over the collective good of the nation, noting that corruption is endemic, and accountability is almost non-existent, deeply entrenched in our political system.

“As we observe this Democracy Day, the CNG calls on all Nigerians to reflect on the state of our nation and question the effectiveness of our democratic system. It is evident that democracy, in its current form, has failed to deliver on its promises of development, security, and prosperity for all Nigerians, as only a select few politicians and senior civil servants amass questionable wealth while bequeathing depravity to the masses.

“Therefore, as Nigeria marks 25 years of continuous democratic sojourn, we must engage in a candid reflection to domesticate this democracy or design a system that aligns with our tradition, culture, and history, which is capable of providing security, promoting economic development, and fostering true people’s participation,” it said.

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