The former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel has criticised the Federal government’s huge tax drive, describing it as an “anti-people policy”.
Daniel, who administered the State between 2003 to 2011, argued that government must consider whether or not people being taxed possess taxable income otherwise “they will be taxed to death.”
The former governor equally applauded the government over the border closure, describing it as fantastic.
He spoke during a facility tour at his multi-million naira Conference Hotel, Abeokuta, which he recently recovered after eight years seizure of the facility by the immediate past governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s regime.
Daniel recalled that under his regime he did not over – tax civil servants because many of them were earning low salaries, a development which he said was responsible for less Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“Incidentally, I don’t agree with the policy of government that taxation is where the money is coming from; No. I don’t want to say it is the lack of deeper thinking. If you go back to Ogun State under our watch, we had average of N1billion per month as IGR. We did not over tax civil servants. Then, another regime came and the IGR went up. How it went up is a debate for another day, whether it is because they came or somebody has done the background work; Let’s leave that for posterity.
“Some of us were not unaware that the taxes civil servants were paying were lower, but come on gentlemen, a civil servant is earning N20,000, for God sake it’s not enough for him to feed and come to work and you want to be taxing N5,000. What are you doing? You are killing the people.
“Basically therefore, what I am saying is that, taxation? Yes, it is important. But before you begin to tax people you must ensure that they have enough income that is even taxable otherwise you are going to tax them to death. So, for me, there are other ways in which government can get revenue beyond increasing VAT, taxation and all of that,” Daniel said.
Speaking on the recovered hotel, Daniel said “I have moved on,” and that he has forgiven those behind the siege.
The former governor emphasized that he had ventured into hospitality business to drive industrialization and curb unemployment among the teeming Nigerian youths.
“I have not even finished and I had three jobs that I have to chose from as an undergraduate at University of Lagos. That is where we are coming from.
“When you now see graduates roaming the streets, we all feel that as a people we have failed. And the only thing that excites me is just to see how many people we can to put into employment. That’s why while I was governor we didn’t sack anybody, we doubled employment and we did all we could do,” Daniel said.