Senator representing Ondo North, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice has advised the Ondo State Government to embark on systemic widening of tax payers’ net and diversification of tax base instead of the coordinated alleged extortion of impoverished citizens by imposition of oppressive pressure through its burdensome tax regime.
Reacting to the recent face-off between the Governor Olusegun Mimiko-led administration and commercial motorcycle operators over heavy taxation of N20, 000 per head, on Tuesday, through his Media Assistant, Kayode Adeniyi, the Senator warned the government against killing businesses in Ondo State with its burdensome and absurd tax regime.
The statement read: “Senator Boroffice believes taxation is adopted to drive the economy, redistribute wealth and not to run businesses out of the economy. Gainfully-employed people, whether civil servants or self-employed, in Ondo State are duty-bound to pay taxes and the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) should be improved upon. Infact, the few good steps taken by the government in this direction are pretty belated.
“However, the systemic and coordinated extortion of impoverished citizens by the imposition of oppressive pressure through burdensome tax regime is not an option. Moreover, it is counterproductive. Therefore, the fading administration in Ondo State should exercise caution and restraint.
“If the Mimiko-led admistration is keen on improving revenue generation, the government should devise strategy to attract new tax payers to its tax net. The tax net should be diversified to cover many persons in the informal sector. The government should support the unemployed populace to create Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Likewise, enabling environment for business to strive and yield marginal revenue should be the priority of any serious government desirous of increased IGR.
“For the commercial motorcycles operators, the challenge is not really about unwillingness to pay taxes. The reality is that most of the motorcyclists acquired their motorcycles on hired purchase agreement. How would a reasonable administration expect motorcyclists on such agreement to pay N20,000 per head on taxation?
“Meanwhile, a meticulous perusal of the components of the N20,000 per head imposed on members of Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycles Operators (ACOMORAN) suggests that the PDP-led administration is pursuing an extortionist agenda against the people of Ondo State. Perhaps, Ondo State is the only state in the world where taxes are imposed on poverty. Sheer wickedness.
“Mr Governor is advised to create a platform for amiable resolution of the contentious issues for the benefits of both parties while the utmost interest of Ondo State is sustained. The issue of transparency and trust should also be addressed.
“Finally, Mr Governor is advised to show leadership and, at least, pretend to be compassionate by dealing with the motorcyclists as his children who are struggling to survive and making contributions to the growth of our dear State in their own rights. They should be cared for and not destroyed via harsh and burdensome tax regime,” said Boroffice