By Kehinde Ayantunji
The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has tasked Nigerians to imbibe the culture of taxation.
According to him, for a developing country like Nigeria to confront boldly the socio-economic and political challenges, taxation must be taken seriously.
He said all the responsible, civilised and advanced countries remain successful because they generate their resources from taxes collected from the populace, while under-developed and developing countries remain poor and backward because of their poor taxation culture.
Governor Aregbesola made the statement while addressing leaders and members of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Osogbo Branch, during the ceremonial presentation of the 2017 Group Dynamics Cup Trophy won by the Osogbo NSE.
Aregbesola explained that the emerging economic realities remained the signal to the fact that no nation can survive without huge revenue from taxation, adding that global economic reality is compelling seriousness on the need for government and the people of any country that desire development to prioritise taxation as the basic way for revenue generation.
He said, “It is unfortunate that most professionals in our state do not take the issue of taxes seriously. That is why I want to appeal to the leaders of the NSE and other professionals bodies in the state to rally round their members to correctly and appropriately assess themselves so as to pay appropriate taxes to government.
“Before the military interregnum in Nigeria, taxation was a serious civic obligation and responsibility of every citizen and as a matter of fact, the liberty of the citizens was defined and determined by how citizens fulfilled their tax obligations.
“At the time, negligence in tax obligation had a citizen’s liberty circumscribed. But the military during its interregnum with the need for it to forcibly acquire legitimacy from the people, overlooked that very critical factor in modern society.
“The reason adults worked then was to serve themselves and serve the government because there was no other way government could get money outside the taxes paid by all entities, both human and corporate in their domain”.
“It is not a doubt that today, all developed nations in the world have one characteristic of sole means of revenue generation from taxes paid by their citizens.
“The advanced nations of the world generate much more of their resources from the taxes paid by their citizens and that is the only way for responsible, civilised and consequently advanced nations to generate their revenues.
“But backward, under-developed and primitive societies depend on natural resources that, in most cases, they do not even know where such resources came from. Their belief was, once the natural resource is bringing the proceeds to them, they don’t want to know how effective their own assessment of the proceeds is.
“We just found that we all depend on rent to live our lives and any nation that depends on such will just be living a mere existence.
“So, we must all come to the need to understand the essence of taxation in ensuring good governance. It is time for citizens of the third world particularly African countries to rise to the challenges of poor taxation culture”, Aregbesola stated.