I shared in the plight of a client who got knocked down by the intimidation of the current rate regime in Ondo state. His incurable phobia was the inability of his business to attract activities that could enable his business meet its statutory and social obligations.
Despite my avowed support for a tax run economy courtesy of my background, I am yet to see wisdom and critical thinking in the policy of Dr Rahman Mimiko in the area of management of the critical area of the economy of the state.
In one of our numerous dialogues/debates here on social network, I recalled I described the current administration as a system that run on surge of instinct. I opined that it makes no sense for a government to run to the stock market to source as much as N50 billion loan stock to finace petty projects like market stalls, bore holes, town halls, mega schools and other non revenue generating projects. I remember I challenged the productive rationale behind the injection of over N600 million to a privately owned Arigidi Tomatoe Company without a single result when the equivalent of that amount could actually give to the state a Tomatoe Processing Factory (if it is viable anyway). I also queried the non-existing Ose cement factory among others.
I opposed the idea of rushing at loan without a well thought out plans of payment. I have always known that management of finance has always been a major challenge in governance here in this part of the world. Getting loan is not the solution but evolving optimum budgetary and financial discipline. Looking inward for revenue generation and governing with integrity will take us far.
But Eni Akinsola, the Chief Press Secretary to Dr Mimiko in his reaction swayed the discussion temporarily on the side of the governor.
Using his enviable journalistic prowess, Eni said major consideration why the governor opted for the loan was his passion for the electorates. He said it is better to get loan and finace its cost from our statutory allocation than to increase taxes and rates. He said the burden will be too much for the people to live with. The former Nation newspaper columnist said considering the level of corruption in the system where contract jobs and others hardly escape the claws of corruption, it is better to shield the electorates from the brunt of incidence of increased taxes and rates. He wraped his defence with compelling emphaty!
Today, against the stiff defence of Eni Akinsola and Dr Mimiko, taxes, rates and fees have experienced tremendous increasement. In most cases above 200%. The state has equally started finacing the needless loan spending about N2 billion naira per annum. This amount is constantly beign deducted from the source.
I wonder why this action of Dr Rahman that has taken so much away from our statutory fund yet ask the already impoverished people with unencouraging business environment to pay huge rates. This is unfair!
These people who praise our leaders without taking out time to reflect on the direct effects of their actions on the economy of the people, both immediate and future are confusing the duties of leadership as favour .
A colleague here in Akure once said and I quote “If my governor constructs roads, he has not done me any favour, if he builds schools, he has not done anyone any favours . How many times have markets been commissiond in Europe? Here we celebrate mediocrity.
“We make gods of people who have cheated us so woefully. Who have destroyed the foundation of the future of our children .
“They employ heartless speech writers , who confuse our plaintive minds . Ignorance of even the learned takes over our being!”
This time shall pass.
This Piece Was Put Together Ogunleye Rotimi Williams.