In recent times the government in Nigeria, especially that of Lagos has been going after companies and other young businesses to make sure that they are all paying their taxes. I believe in paying taxes and I know that is one of the ways the government will be able to make some money and in turn develop the state. While that holds true, we must also remember the other side to the tax issue. Any government in a nation that is truly after the development of the people understands that collecting tax from the people is not the only way for the state to develop especially where the people feel that they are just paying tax and barely getting anything in return.
We have seen ideal situations in developed nations where the government gives tax deductions to business owners and their reason is very simple. They are not just after collecting the money these people have to offer but they are wise enough to look at the solution that these people are bringing to the society. They understand that business owners are solving the unemployment problems and for that alone they want to encourage them to do more. One simple way they can encourage any business owner to employ more people is to reduce the tax that the person is paying and ask the person to use the tax cut to pay the salaries of new staff. It’s a simple logic to say we will give you 50 percent tax cut on the condition that they will employ more people. We will also monitor your company to make sure you are actually employing more people and not just taking the tax cut.
I don’t think that the government should just keep running after every business that manages to scale through the phase of raising start-up capital, getting enough funds to rent a place and put a sign in front of the building to saying you run a business. The government should not just fulfill its obligation to tax but also look at its obligation to encourage business growth in every area of the economy.
At the moment I also think that the cost of registering a business in this country is still too high. Any other country that is still registering businesses at a high cost should also consider dropping the cost immediately and encourage many more businesses to be properly registered with the government. When you consider the cost of registering the business, you might say ‘okay we cannot give you a tax cut but we can drop the cost of start-up or registering the business.
We have to look on the other side and not just say that this businesses are making money therefore they must be paying to the government all the time
While it is the civic responsibilities of the people to pay taxes, the government must encourage the business owners and tax deductions can also be given just for them to employ more people. This is working in some countries and it can work in ours as well. Let’s all speak up and take action today. If you are also in a position in the government, use your position or influence to encourage as many business owners as possible and don’t stop at any time. Let business grow, let businesses thrive and let businesses flourish!
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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