Kogi is always in the lead for novel news,the last was the controversial ‘Bread Tax’ that was later withdrew or denied by the state government.
The recent trending news is ‘POS Tax’ for operators of the system all around the state,a developement that is not heard in the rest states of the federation.
These two vocation fell into the template of small and medium scale enterprises SME,where individuals through self financing or government support can sustained their livelihood through engagement.
In a state that had taking the lead of high cost of living for many consecutive times,with it’s citizens looking for leeway to survival,it will be couter productive for government to engage in outrageous tacxation that will discouraged small and self susraining ventures.
The NBS in it’s last asssessement said Kogi and two other states are in the lead of both high cost of living and inflationary rates ,a state where the presence of federal government agencies is the bane of it’s stable and unreliable economy.
It is obvious that this two items fell under the cocoon of small scale businesses among others, that is the bane of the thriving economy of developed and developing countries in the continent,but the reverse is the case in Kogi state.
The Point of Service POS transaction is an extension of Banks activities to allow the ease of doing business to many medium/low income earners,hence the new lax law in Kogi negates it’s operations by individuals and amounting to double taxation.
This is basically because Banks in kogi state are expected to be paying taxes to the state,so it’s extension by individual operators of POS that is given by the Bank’s are not expected to pay another round of tax to the state government.
For Bread,even though rescinded by the state government,also fell to the purview of consumption items that VAT is paid at the point of purchase and consumption,so if the law stood,it would also be tantamount to over taxation.
To encourage small scale and petty businesses that people in Kogi state relied on for their sustenance and survival,it is high time,the state government initiate policies and programs to support low income earners, artisans and traders.
Since post COVID and it’s level of waves,many states of the fedration had embarked on programs that will cushion the effects of the scourge,either directly or theough assess to funds provided by the federal government,Kogi should not be an exception.
The rate of poverty level revealed by NBS should not be allowed to deteriorate,as it will amount of suicidal efforts initiated by the state government against it’s citizens.
Aside petty businesses,the availement to establish medium term and interest free loans at macro and micro level,will mitigate the unimproved economic status of the state.
Government should partner with the political class at all levels,political appointees and politicians to create more avenues of empowerment, capacity building,skill development and acquisition,so as to reduce to the barest minimum,the current high rare of povery and underdevelopment in Kogi state.
It is high time,the state government should look out for more revenue mobilisation from the proliferation of small scale industries in Kogi , establish more tax outlets,and create an enabling environment for citizens to carry out legitimate business,rather than over burdening them.
This is the only way and avenue all and sundry will be given a sense of responsibility and belonging in the state,when all forms of legitimate buisness are allowed to debut without restrictions.
There is no state in Nigeria not even Lagos,Kano and Portharcout with the highest population have they contemplated POS Tax, therefore, Kogi should not be at the forefront of such anti people’s policy.
What the citizens need now is encouragement from government and support and not the other way round.
Usman Okai Austin, CNA,CPA.
Writes from Abuja