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Opinion

Options and strategies for financing the 2019 budget

The voting public has been beguiled by politicians for too long. We need to deliver hard and power-packed punches that will send them to dream land for innovative ideas. To overcome obstacles to the implementation of the 2019 budget, state governors, particularly those bereft of good new ideas that will enable them pay the minimum wage, should summon the courage and the political will to look inwards and work with the tools at their disposal.

A readily available tool is the extant tax laws which can be deployed for enhanced revenue collection. Governors that cannot dream but deft at manipulating the docile poor to vote for them should begin to dream now because the party will not last long. We were told that, Henry Ford, poor and uneducated, dreamed of a horseless carriage. He went to work with the tools he had, without waiting for opportunity to favour him. Today, the evidence of his dream is there for all to see and benefit from.

It is rather too early into the administration of governor Makinde of Oyo State to complain that he cannot pay the minimum wage, mores, in Oyo State where the clamour for restructuring was loudest. It is sad that the voting public cannot look inside a politician and tell if he or she has what it takes. University degrees are not the secret. The key is what is inside a person. It is all about innovative financing ideas that can generate cash inflows that can spawn growth.

Innovation, we were taught is the core of business whether in government business or in entrepreneurship. Oyo State and other states bemoaning their inability to pay the minimum wage must deploy resources-human and technological-coupled with innovative ideas and ingenuity to bring millions into the tax net.

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The governors, all State Boards of Internal Revenue, know the various taxes that could net in the funds required to finance government budgets. However, because they may also be guilty of evading such taxes, they cannot summon the political will to enforce compliance. There is collusion everywhere. Consultants and sub-consultants not exempted. One of such taxes is the “Withholding tax.

I firmly believe that this tool is both the digger and the shovel we need to mine more revenue to execute projects for the general good, in line with the Constitution and the extant tax laws. There is widespread ignorance, the mention of just one type of tax that can generate trillions, dare I say trillions, for the  government at all levels will send arrows flying  in my direction from different directions, it is the widespread non-payment and non-remittance of Withholding Tax deductions. What about detailed vouching and forensic audit of both Federal and State MDAs’ Account across board?

All leakages in the system must be blocked to roll back the tide of insufficient funds and the debt burden. Governor  Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, note that the state can afford to pay the minimum wage, provided we choose to make probity, accountability, honesty, character, common sense and abilities the most the criteria for making electoral choices.

Source: The Nation Online

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