Nigeria: The Contradictions (Part 35)

By Ikenga Chronicles January 12, 2018

Nigeria: The Contradictions (Part 35)

— Baron Roy

(The Southern Solutions)

Communal levies (taxes) are higher than the monthly allocations from oil. The oil income is not worth the misery of a people.

Recall from earlier chapters that the Net Daily Crude Export is 600,000 barrels per day. 22% is shared to the 774 LGAs (Local Government Areas) by RMFAC. That is about 130,000 barrels per day shared to 774 LGAs. Assuming all the LGAs get equal shares, that would be 168 barrels per day for one LGA. That is about 5000 barrels per month for one LGA. Less JV counterpart funding, SWF and taxes of about 30%, that’s 3500 per month per LGA. 3500 bbls multiplied by $50 yields about $173,000 or 55 million Naira per LGA!

The governor takes about 25m per LGA and sends 30m. The LGA chairman and councillors take like 10m and use the rest to pay salaries. What is left for development? Never mind the citizen!

To construct a kilometre of a single lane road with drains is about N150m, Ijebu North Local Government has paved and unpaved roads of over 5000km crisscrossing several streets and villages. Obviously the LGA doesn’t have the capacity, neither does the state! Then who does? The people must! And that’s just talking roads; there are a legion schedules of public works. Hoping an LGA or a governor would do it is great; they would in due time; in about 300 years at the current rate.

Depending on the monthly stipends and hoping it would fetch development makes me want to cry at our folly; it simply can’t! We have fought battles, waged a war, demonstrated and agitated for the holders of the revenue to loosen the purse strings a bit and give some more of what rightly belongs to us to us. We were visited with insults, threats and some deaths. Then some people started bombing and all but were pacified with some cowrie shells. Quite many pressure groups have turned their agitations into moneymaking enterprises for a few and leaving the rest of us in limbo after acquiring our support. Those fights have fetched us little. This model doesn’t look like it’s going to fetch us emancipation and development any time soon. Let’s look inwards, self-fund and force the development of the municipalities. Let’s convert those energies to liberating the citizen from poverty. Fighting over the paltry oil allocation is not worth the trouble one bit! But why wait for the ridiculous allocation anyway?

How are governments funded all over the world? Taxes! That’s all the government needs! Why are we different here? The FIRS can NEVER get even 20% of the taxes that should be due to the structure of this country. In the USA, the municipalities organize the communes and collect the local taxes first hand. The state and federal governments depend on the platform of the MUNICIPALITIES to get their taxes. We are sitting on a great development platform but we are distracted by the ridiculous allocation. We are not thinking outside the box because of that “oil”! The oil thing looks more like a curse than anything else. Ignore the oil and allocation. Leave it to those who would die for it. And develop yourself.

Onitsha is a city of 2.5 million people. This is a city with a large concentration of industrious people. There is almost zero unemployment in the city. The large city has been built by the people themselves. There is no government of note. They depend on guilds and market associations for any form of government. That is a city sitting on a goldmine.

The organic synthesis of a Municipality by the people of Onitsha, would make the city compete with Dubai within 5 years. 5% sales tax alone by the municipality would fetch that city over 3 billion Naira per month! That is 36 billion Naira per annum! The Municipality of Onitsha is bigger than the annual allocation of Ekiti State, yet it depends on the 55 million per month for the LGA? The allocation is not worth the trouble; oil is not worth it. The inordinate greed of the Caliphate and its agents has turned us into oil addicts and has progressively made us poorer. It has affected our psyche and we find it difficult to see beyond the horizon. No society develops on allocation; most societies develop by the sheer ingenuity of her people. Where is our ingenuity? Fighting for more monthly allocation or to have more control of the oil?

It ain’t worth the trouble. Create your municipalities and employ the ingenuity of a people to emancipate them. This oil “thingy” is a distraction and a curse that has turned us into lazy bums! If you must know, Dubai was not built with oil money; oil funds were the seed, real funds built Dubai.

Let’s junk that oil and concentrate on our mission: Self Development!

(…to be continued)