Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

OBNOXIOUS TAX-POLICY IN ABUJA: Working Masses Must Fight for Better Conditions

OBNOXIOUS TAX-POLICY IN ABUJA: Working Masses Must Fight for Better Conditions

By Oladimeji Macaulay

The last general elections offered members of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) the opportunity to speak to many residents of Abuja at the area councils and it was clear that their biggest worry is the unfair tax policy in the face of government failure to provide basic amenities. Our finding reveals that artisans, market men and women, okada riders, tricycle riders and cab drivers in Abuja are suffering from outrageous tax, levies and penalties.

The tax analysis are: Drivers pay two hundred naira every day; shop owners pay five thousand naira yearly, market men and women pay fifty naira per day; Okada riders pay fifty naira every day; tricycle riders pay one hundred naira every day. Often time local government task force from the revenue department moves around to enforce compliance in a brutal manner. The local government uses force to attack the poor while the rich tax defaulters are usually pampered. Many rich individuals and big business use all means in their disposal to evade tax more so that some of them are sponsors and moneybag supporters to bourgeois politicians particularly the two main establishment political parties (PDP and APC).

The AMAC Chairman, Mr. Candido A and the APC have run the local government in a manner that undermines the interest of the working masses and the poor. The council’s financial activities are shrouded in secrecy and fail to address the socio-economic challenges of the ordinary masses. The truth is that the level of development in many rural areas is not commensurate with the tax the people are forced to pay. The primary preoccupation of the area councils in Abuja, which is not different from the other tiers of governments are awards of dubious and expensive contracts, waste of public resources, payment of jumbo salaries and allowances to top political office holders etc. For instance, the Independent Corrupt Practice and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has invited top staff of the area council over fraudulent transaction and contracts of about 9.3 million naira.

Away from the glittering streets of Abuja Central Business District, rural areas in Abuja are suffering from absence of social amenities such as standard public hospitals, quality public schools, good road network, potable water and decent and affordable housing etc. It has become obvious that the local and all other tiers of government have failed to meet the expectation of the masses and that is partly why some people are unable to meet their tax obligations given the rising cost of living and of doing business. Public resources that are supposed to be invested in the public interest largely end up in private pockets.

We need a local government whose activities are run transparently and democratically controlled by elected representatives of workers, communities and other socio groups with the plan of utilizing the resources accruing to it for basic amenities.

If you are dissatisfied with the various anti-poor capitalist attacks at the area council and you want to build a movement to challenge it, we urge you to join the SPN and participate in our activities as a means to organize resistance and struggle to end the anti-poor governments at all levels. It’s only if we organise and fight for a socialist change and working people government that the economy can be reorganized to meet basic needs of all.