Saturday, 15 August 2020


State of Osun, in the same health boat of the ravaging COVID-19 respiratory virus threatened Nigeria is not leaving anything to chance, with Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s unbroken commitment to requisite health collaboration at tackling the global malignant virus in Osun, prospecting giant to have the state benefit impressively from the COVID-19 new health, new economy as the very incentive basis for enduring stability, peace and security inextricably linked to the enhancement of democracy in the state.

The time on hand is Oyetola’s hasten  moment, mitigating the infuriating impact of the COVID-19 and ensuring closely that the dreaded laboratory virus is not loaded against businesses, investments and investors in Osun. Mitigation! Alleviation! How? Not minding the seemingly huge singular advantage of the ostensibly parochial principle of electoral derivation in the determination of what economic alleviation initiative to navigate the post COVID-19 ruination, Oyetola braved it and took a swift swipe at the ostensibly weighted political implication of the principle, its absolute arbitrariness, unfairness and he rejected the principle.

Instead, Oyetola opted for apolitical tax break or tax relieve fiscal policy to resolve social intervention issues, defined in terms of assuaging, in the instance the effects of the corrosive Coronavius on the total economy of Osun, turning the COVID-19 crisis into opportunity to make the state bounce forward for sustainable growth and development. 

Tax relief, eliminating tax for a specified period, is intended to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and individuals in the state despite the fact that the fight against the virus has painfully put Osun in a relatively unfavourable position for revenue growth, having had the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base substantially reduced by 40per cent, with the government contending with the paucity of funds as corollary, un-helped by the grossly dwindling federal revenue allocation due to the current economic turbulence triggered off by the decline in oil price and the debilitating outgrowth of the globally ravaging COVID-19 malady. 

Meaning that Nigeria as a nation is probably in for a long period of discomfort, and taxation is the alternative window to cover governments’ expenditures and increase the level of the nation’s economy in unrestricted proportions.

In Osun, the law prescribing taxes is aimed at using taxation as legitimate exercise to grow revenues for the state and ensure no excess burden or disruptive impact is laid on the residents, institutions, businesses, investments and employees in Osun to nib in the bud the John Marshall’s oft-quoted, “the power of tax is power to kill”. Marshall (1755 – 1835), the 4th Chief Justice of United States of America (USA), died unsung, July 6, 1835.

Marshall’s 'tax and death nexus’ cannot exemplify the Osun tax system. The state outlay of taxes does not obstruct the industry of taxpayers as taxation only takes away something negligible from the taxpayers’ pockets. All the taxable objects in the state are treated alike and what the taxpayers pay is certain, not arbitrary. The extent of the income jurisdiction is essentially determined by the residence of the tax object and source of its income; and same tax is not laid twice on the same tax object, as Oyetola, the state chief tax administrator never allows any replication of taxes by the local governments in the state.

Why the current break in taxation to reduce the impact of COVID-19, Why? It is Oyetola’s explicit expectation that the tax break or tax holiday on-going, will stimulate businesses and investments, bolstering participation in certain economic and commercial activities in the state with the "waivers of penalty and interest on all concluded tax audit reviews till December 31, 2020, 50per cent discount on Land Use Charge (LUC) at urban areas, amnesty rate between #2,000 - #10,000 per annum on semi urban/rural areas, 20per cent discount of MSMEs and direct assessment upon payment before December 31, 2020, extension of the deadline for submission of Form ‘A’ for employees and annual returns for companies from March 31 – October 31, 2020, and such other tax relief graciously granted by Oyetola." In more ways than one, the APC-Oyetola government tax holiday fiscal policy will help more people stay on in their businesses or start businesses of their own. 

The magnanimity of the tax holiday fiscal policy is that the taxpayers rake in more incomes on discount tax, from their businesses, investments and other economic activities, while the government looses out on taxation that could been generated in a no tax relief span. Not one  to run away from any hiccup, COVID-19 or not, Oyetola carries on his commitment to Osun peoples, magnificently delivering on his own part of the social contract or bargain, with his development projects, policies and programmes: full salaries, gratuities and pensions paid as and when due; over 5000 farmers empowered, over 250 Healthcare centres revitalized; over 20roads constructed in 18months; Dagbolu International Market,16.55km Osogbo-Kelebe Iragbiji road and reconstruction of the N200million  Atakumosa ultramodern market, Ilesa, due to take off; 33KVA Electricity Feeder line installed for Ifetedo and its environs after 10years of black out; COVID-19 properly managed; and adequate security and general welfare of the citizenry guaranteed.

The APC-Oyetola's achievements and many more are a dive into further growth and development of Osun. But for the shallow, non-deep opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, the governing APC’s landmarks might mean just a tissue and not an issue because it takes only the deep to recognize the deep. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841 – 1935) apparently had Oyetola’s achievements in mind when he stated that “taxes are the price we pay for development milestones”. Holmes, a literary giant, attended Harvard Law School (1864) and was admitted into Massachusetts Bar. He was Editor, Harvard Magazine; Editor, American Law Review; Author, The Common Law; Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts; Law Lecturer, Harvard University and Justice of the United States of America (USA) Supreme Court in 1902.

Exiting taxation, to ‘go’ on break or holiday will increase faith in governance and court increased public goodwill.

 *OLUSESI is Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research and Strategy, All Progressives Congress (APC), State of Osun*

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