Last updated on August 5th, 2023 at 10:14 pm
Nigeria’s economy is wallowing in internal and external debts worth trillions of Naira, while the executive and the lawmaking arms are plundering the revenue, yet they are desperately in searching of means of paying off the debts and means of funding country’s 2022 budget.
But a member of the House of Representatives at the National Assembly from Osun State, Hon. Fakeye Olufemi, said their is no cause for alarm provided that carpenters, taxi drivers, rice sellers, vegetable sellers among other petty traders could be mandated to pay tax.
The lawmaker who represents Boluwaduro/Ifedayo/Ila federal constituency of Osun state advised his fellow lawmakers at the floor of the House Wednesday, October 13, 2021, that carpenters, rice sellers, taxi drivers make a lot of money from their daily struggle, therefore they should be taxed in order for the government to meet its financial obligations.
Is Anything Wrong With Paying Taxes?
There is nothing bad about taxing every Nigerian and resident, but some Nigerians who have lost confidence in the government, due to corruption and mismanagement on the part of government officials are asking: What exactly are the lawmakers doing with the millions of naira they receive every 30-day as monthly salary?
Do they have something to show for the constituency project they claim to expend so much on?
We’ll come back to how much a member of House of Representatives and House of Senate in Nigeria earn as monthly salary.
Who is Fakeye Olufemi?
Born on June 6, 1952, Olufemi hails from Ila, one of the historical towns in osun State, Southwest Nigeria.
He’s a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who has been in the lower chamber of the National Assembly since 2011,
His contact details:
- Postal Address: Z43 Adekunle Road, Near St. Michael’s Primary School, Ila, Osun State
- E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 07063098372
He attended Northwestern University and the Carnegie Mellon Univ. United States of America.
He first won the election to the House of Representatives and was sworn in on May 29, 2011, and he won re-election and was a member of the lower chamber in May 2015, and again in 2019.
Since 2011, he has served in several key committees, some of them include:
- Chairman at Commerce Committee until May 2023
- Chairman, Insurance and Actuarial Matters Committee (Reps) from June 2015 to May 2019
- Committee Member, Banking & Currency Committee (Reps) until May 2015
- Committee Member, Special Duties Committee (Reps) until May 2015
- Committee Member, Agricultural Production and Services Committee (Reps) until May 2015
- Committee Member, Federal Character Committee (Reps) till May 2015
- Committee Member, Navy Committee (Reps) till May 2015
- Committee Member, Petroleum Resources (Up Stream) Committee (Reps) until May 2015
Fakeye Olufemi wasn’t known for making controversial statements until 2016 when he stated that the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) should be scrapped.
Although, hundreds of Nigerians had made similar calls due to the dangers NYSC members pass through while serving their fatherland.
His recent statements that petty traders make a lot of money and should be mandated to pay tax in order to fund the budget and to reduce the level of borrowing of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led government came at a time Nigerians are complaining about the denigration of the democratic institutions.
What the law says
Small companies with an annual turnover of not more than N25 million are exempted from paying company income tax (CIT), according to the finance act 2020.
But Olufemi who believed that the law should be amended while contributing to the 2022 budget debate said, “I pay attention to revenue shortfall for the government and I begin to ask myself and I recall when I was young, everybody pays taxes. Whether you are a farmer, your daddy was a carpenter, whatever he did for a living, he paid tax.”
FIRS To Widen The Tax Net
The Osun rep in the National Assembly every Nigerian should be made to pay tax for the government to increase its sources of revenue.
“So when we hear FIRS or tax organisations, even the tax joint board widening the tax net; why do they shy away from finding a way to make people pay — whether you are a carpenter, you are a taxi driver, you are selling rice in the market — these people make a lot of money but they don’t get to pay nothing. So I think that is an area I would like to see revenue-boosting.”
He Support Borrowing
While some financial analysts hinted that Nigeria has enough resources internally to finance its budget and projects Olufemi Fakeye said there is nothing bad about borrowing if the borrowing is taken at the right time.
“I like to tell the executive; if you are going to borrow to implement the project for a year — they should be borrowing January, February and March not borrowing or trying to arrange the borrowing in the third or fourth quarter of the year for which you want to implement.”
Nigeria’s Debt Burden
Before President Olusegun Obasanjo left office in 2007, he secured debt relief for Nigeria, but his successors have borrowed more than what Obasanjo cleared.
Specifically, the APC-led government has borrowed more than previous governments combined. For instance, on July 7, 2021, the House of Senate gave its approval for Buhari to take another loan of N2.343 trillion (about $6 billion) and another $8.3 billion and €490 million.
In 2015 when Buhari took over, Nigeria’s external debt was $7.3 billion, but by the end of December 2020 Buhari had increased to $28.57 billion.
How Much National Assembly Member Earns Monthly
Nigeria’s National Assembly which has 109 Senators and 360 lawmakers in the House of Representatives have been accused of earning more than they can spend.
House of Senate
The first lawmaker in Nigeria to reveal the salary of a Senator in Nigeria is Shehu Sani when he was a member of the upper house.
Sani, who represented Kaduna Central revealed on March 7, 2018, that each 109 senators earned NGN13.5 million monthly as what he called “running cost”
He also stated that the running cost did not include a N700,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances which they also receive.
The revelation sparked reaction and his party refused to give him a returning ticket in the election that followed.
House of Representatives
On October 1, 2020, another lawmaker, Simon Karu, at the lower chamber revealed that each 360 members of the House earns N9.3 million monthly apart from the official monthly salary.
He represented Kaltungo/Shongom federal constituency of Gombe State, but some of his colleagues disown him.
Nigerians Are Angry
Severally, Nigerians have called on lawmakers to set the pace by cutting their expenses. Some of them said it won’t amount to anything.
Fakeye Olufemi tax comment came at a time Nigerians said lawmakers can show nothing as dividends of democracy. He isn’t the only controversial lawmaker.