No matter the decibel of the rhetoric, bragadacio and empty noise in Nothingness, Nigeria will never join the league of progressive countries of the world, until we restructure this country to a true federal state , just like we had it during our progressively productive years between 1957 to 1964.
This current quasi-unitary structure is not working. It has only created a tiny population of roguish political elite and a mass of deprived, dehumanised, unproductive and beggarly population.
Restructuring Nigeria will help to unleash the buried potentials in our people and this country as a whole. The current warped/unwieldly structure that is shaped and guided by the criminally contrived 1999 slavish Abadulsalami Abubakar document, called constitution is killing an overwheming majority of Nigerians and Nigeria herself.
LET ME GIVE US THIS LITTLE ILLUSTRATIONS TO BUTTRESSS MY POINTS- TAXATION CULTURE/TAX REVENUES.
1. In 2017, Nigeria with a population of 193.8million people and GDP size of $400billion and GDP per capita of $2000 (Source: IMF), generated only a paltry N4trillion/$11billion as Gross Tax Revenue.
2. Out of this figure above, N972bn/$2.7bn was raised from the Value Added Tax (consumption tax) window.
3. The Tax to GDP ratio for Nigeria in 2017 based on the above numbers from the FIRS was 2.7%. The VAT to Total Tax revenue was 24.5%.
4. The Tax revenue per capita in Nigeria in 2017 was N20,639./$57. VAT revenue per capita in the same period was N5,015/$13.
5. Minimum wage in Nigeria is N18,000/$50.
6. In 2017, reports from the South African National tax office shows that South Africa collected R1,144bn/$84.79bn or N30.5trillion (Over 3 times the size of our national budget) as tax revenues.
7. Kindly note that South Africa GDP is $335bn; Population is 55million; GDP per capita is $6000
8. Out of this $84.79bn/N30.5trilllion, collected by the South African Tax authority, $21.96billion/N7.905trillion (Almost the Size of our FGN budget came from VAT collections). Personal Income Tax accounted for $32.54bn/N11.35trillion of tax revenues and Company Income Tax accounted for $15.34bn/N5.5trillion.
9. The Tax to GDP ratio for South Africa in 2017 was 25.3%, the VAT revenue to GDP ratio was 6.5%. The Personal Income Tax to GDP ratio for SA in 2017 was 9.7%
10 The Tax Revenue Per Capita in SA for 2017 was $1,541/N554,989.
11. Average Minimum wage in South Africa for a cleaner is 20rands/$1.48 per hour. ie. $355/N127,872.00 per month.
NOW TAKE YOUR TIME TO DIGEST THE FIGURES AND NUMBERS ABOVE.
Honestly, I wish, I can open the brain and minds of a majority of the 193.8m Nigerians to appreciate the grave import and implications of the numbers above. I don’t know how to interpret this data above to make our political leaders and people to appreciate the facts that we have been cheating and destroying ourselves allowing the current unwieldly jungle and retrogressive structure to continue .
DO YOU KNOW that the SA economy is by far more productive than the Nigeria’s economy? Do you know why it seems as if the average South African is more productive than his Nigerian counterpart? Do you know why it was easy for them to pay by far better minimum wages and collect by far more tax and vat revenue than Nigeria?
It is the systems and structures. They have a system and structure that works. Such system as we have them in Singapore, Brazil, SA, Malaysia, USA, Israel, UK etc work .
Imagine how and what it would have been like , if we had RESTRUCTURED NIGERIA’S economy to allow for RESOURCE GENERATION, MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL at the constituent units with the FGN providing only oversight and regulations?
Imagine where we have devolution of more powers, authorities and resources to the constituent units to control more of the fiscal revenues and local security architecture of this country?
A majority of Nigerians, both the led and the leaders, do not appreciate their civic responsibilities/obligations or creatively think out of the box on how to put our youthful population to productive works and appriopriately tax them because of the our fixation with the little that trickle from the crude oil that flows from the Niger Delta.
If we had resources control, a majority of our people (both the leaders and the led) will be forced to look inward to harness the enormous resources and latent potentials in us. No religious fanatic or jester will put on some dainty uniforms to destroy people’s businesses in the name of Hisbah banning alcohol sales/consumption. Rather, they will create the right environment for such businesses to thrive and impose heavy taxes that will yield more incomes from the business as it is done in the United Arab Emirates (that is predominatly Islam).
If we had resources control, there will be competitions amongst the constituent units to put in place and develop the requisite fiscal, business friendly/ enabling, regulatory, infrastructure and social framework to attract businesses and the best work force to her domain.
If we had resources control and devolution of powers with only 20% of collectible revenues going to the center, the do or die politics of controlling powers/resources at the center plus its attendant/accompanying destrcutive clannish/nepotistic evil will abate.
If we had resource control, states/LGAs with huge land mass and solid mineral endowments will look inwards and seek for credible partnerhips (both local and foreign) to help grow their domain.. Local authorities will also be more concerned and consumed with driving taxes and revenues within their domain. It will also help to eliminate double taxations and multiple levies in the system.
Overall, everone will be put to work and we shall all contribute our fair share in the baking and sharing of the cake.
God please help us
Obiaraeri, Nnaemeka Onyeka