On Saturday, I went for an event for SME’S and Small businesses. It was a Tax Forum organized by Play Network. Prior to the event, I was very excited, honestly. And I was counting down; I had even selected an outfit (an outfit I ended up not wearing). Anyway, I got there very early, in fact, one full hour before it was billed to start. Why? I went to another event and that closed very early.
Anyway, back to the Tax Forum, they were billed to start at 3 pm but as usual with Nigerians, they started at 4 pm. I thought they would be different, but the “Nigerian time” factor just had to prevail. Anyway, this was one hell of an interesting forum. Even though in my opinion, I felt some of the panellists did not come prepared or maybe they were not properly briefed on what was expected of them.
I feel that if you are invited to come speak on any issue relating to the sector in which you dominate, you would have done some research. That aside, I learnt a lot, especially on Tax matters. As a small business owner, it was really enlightening especially as an FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service) official was also on the panel and he spoke really well.
Now that I have laid the background, let me get to the main reason for this post. During the Q & A, I realised to my dismay that a lot of youths do not know what is going on around them. They don’t watch NEWS neither are they informed. They’re completely clueless on important issues ranging from politics, economics, and their role as citizens, I was really disappointed.
Now we say that it’s time for young people to get involved with politics, to serve, to be elected into political office but are we ready? I doubt very much. If not how can a young person, a future political/business leader be saying he/she doesn’t watch NEWS because it is depressing. I get that (in a way especially foreign NEWS but what about Local NEWS, how about getting informed about what policies are being made in YOUR country.
How can a young person be saying who should be responsible for checking the government? Honestly, we complain too much, we are not informed and it is not good.
Your responsibility as a citizen does not end with just VOTING, after voting you must make sure the people you have elected do not misuse the trust placed in them.
We the people, the electorate do not realize the power we have. And until then, there won’t be much CHANGE. We can recall non performing representatives in the National Assembly; we can demand that political office holders must not abuse power. They must be held accountable and that’s our job.
At the forum, there were a lot of complaints about Taxes. It’s unfortunate that there’s a lot of mistrust among the people towards the government especially in the regard of paying taxes. The argument is this; why should we pay Tax when the money will end up in the wrong hands, in the wrong pocket; these concerns are legitimate but the truth is most of us, most businesses, even some government agencies do not pay or appropriately remit taxes even after charging them.
True, most of our leaders are corrupt but two wrongs cannot make a wrong; let’s do our part and hold leaders accountable.
Nigeria’s revenue is still largely dependable on oil but how long are we going to continue like that? Everyone must do their part because the change we seek must begin from the man in the mirror.
The response of the Taxman to the complaints of mistrust is that we should elect people with integrity and make sure they do their jobs and the response of a celebrity; your MCM was that he doesn’t have the time to do that cos he’s busy working. I was so shocked. Well, the Taxman told him as a reason of his status in the society he has a voice so he should use it.
I will tell you the same thing now; you have a voice use it. Each and every one of us have a voice, a platform, let’s use that voice, that platform to demand the change we desperately seek. Don’t shut your mouth, use your VOICE.
Also in response to the issue of distrust one of the panellists said our leaders are gotten from us, to which I 100% agree with. If we as a people are good, then our leaders will be good. If we are credible, then our leaders will be people of integrity and credibility. Until we, collectively can boast of being people of integrity, we won’t have credible leaders.
Dear young people, my generation are we ready for governance? This is a question; I want you to think deeply and hard about. When you put on the TV, what station do you first watch? How informed are you about the happenings in your sector? How informed are you about happenings in your country? How informed are you? Can you intelligently hold a sound conversation about politics and governance? Are you a person of integrity? Are you using your platform, your position (no matter how little you think it is) to promote the vision you want for your country? Do you have your PVC? Will you vote? Will you protect that vote?
I remember one of the panellists made mention of the fact that there are tax waivers for SME’S and specific sectors! But do you know that? It’s not enough to complain and rant on social media. He also said, there are things to do to get a tax exempt. That’s why it’s important to find out all you can about the area of business you want to venture in, seek expert advice, and PAY your TAXES; it is illegal not to. Let’s do our part.
GET INFORMED! GET INVOLVED!
Have any thoughts to share? Hit the comment section. I will be happy to hear from you.
Thank you for reading. I wish you a productive week.