I am not too surprised that many of the figures from Nigeria Statistician General, Dr Yemi Kale has brought about lots of questions from many interested Nigerians. I am one of those who finds it hard getting my head around the difference between underemployment and unemployment figures. While I think it is good to differentiate these two terms, I believe it is a ploy to undermine the state of our economy especially for the rural folks.
The conversation moved on to the need for government to find a more effective tax system that include all working adult population.
So I heard **Mama Putts were especially difficult to tax as most refused to register their companies. And someone mentioned how the likes of Mama Putt sometimes make more money than folks in white-collar jobs and yet walked freely without tax burden.
Whose fault is it if Mama Putt didn’t pay her taxes?
Mama Putt is happy to pay her fair share of tax if government is ready to educate people on the need for all-inclusive contributions and outline of how their taxes will be utilised – no gimmicks, they have had enough of that.
So this same guy came back to say Mama Putt would not pay her taxes unless she knew there are benefits in doing so.
Here I feel a bit deflated.
Why would anyone even think Nigerian Mama Putts would not want to see benefits of her contributions, that should not even be a debate at all.
This is the problem I see often with Nigerian literates, there are so many wrong assumptions made on behalf of the informal traders.
Trading on road sides or village markets isn’t to say these people are ignorant, if local schools are fixed, roads maintained etc – Mama Putt would have no trouble registering her enterprise.
Any effort to twist Peoples’ wrists to get taxes would not work long-term, Nigerians have trusted the government for too long so this time, they want the government to show they can be trusted first.
Being raised by a Mama Putt, I don’t think they are particularly hard to tax, in fact the reverse is the case. They only refused to “da esun sinu ibu” (empty pond into the ocean).
**Mama Putt – often used for roadside eatery but here used for all informal traders