KWIRS: A THREAT RATHER THAN A RELIEF.
It is highly regrettable for kwarans to be the victims of government they put their trust. During 2011 when this dispensation was coming on board, ACN was one the main opposition parties where Dele Belgore was the Gubernatorial aspirant. I could remember vividly that the main campaign strategy against ACN was that it is a government of tax. It is a government that will impose unbearable tax upon the citizens. Government that will impose high rate of tax without considering the income of the tax payers.
To our greatest surprised, the same government took upon itself to initiate a new tax system where experts from other parts of the state were employed coupled with menial staffs from the soil. The institution became essential and integral part of the government to inflict additional pains through exorbitant tax without corresponding developments.
Though, when this system was first introduced, it was not received with the brighter face of the masses due to the insinuation that it will worsen the situation. They have that thought that introduction of new tax system will definitely make life miserable for them. But the government of the day is so cunning to persuade the masses to embrace it that the new tax system is not to introduce new taxes that will affect or inflict more pains into the life of citezenry rather than to block loopholes that were hitherto wasting our common resources.
However, it is so sadden and pathetic today that Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) that suppose to be source of our relief at this time of economic hardship had become a threat to our lives. The is because the tax introduced by the State government is much regressive in nature where less income earners are paying high tax rate whilst high income earners are paying less tax rate. The evidence of this could be found in our markets where our petty traders are paying taxes that even more than profit they are gaining from the business. Many of them have resort to begging at different joints and streets of the state.
Furthermore, the essence of collection of taxes by the government through its agency is to provide social services like good road, good medical health care facilities, well equipped schools, drinkable water and many more. But here in Kwara, there is no iota of matching when comparing the total taxes collected annually to the level of development we are experiencing in all aspects of life.
To set the record straight, The Executive Chairman of the institution, Dr. Murtala Awodun was appointed in October 2015 and the proper inauguration was done in January 2016. The institution boasted of #17.4 billion and #19.94 billion for the year 2016 and 2017 respectively. It was also reported that #7.7 billion was generated between January and April of this year 2018. This means that the Kwara State Government had realized #45.04 billion since 2016 up till date of the existence of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service.The body promised hell to discharge its corporate social responsibilities to the optimum level. To God be the glory today, there is nothing to write home about.
As part of strategic plans to siphon this fund, the government set up a siphonic account in guise of Infrastructural Fund Kwara (IF-K) where #500 million is mandatory to be remitted to this account on monthly basis through KWIRS. Thus this means that #6 billion is remitted annually to this account. So far, #14.5 billion had been remitted to IF-K account. The question is that where is that infrastructural developments in our dear state? If #14.5 billion has been used for infrastructural development in the state out of #45.04 billion, what does the government used the balance of #30.54 billion for?
The above questions are begging for the answers. This Government introduced this tax system purposely to loot our common resources having realized that there is no chance of eating fat from federal allocation again due to the short fall of allocation and proper transparency and manitoring from federal agencies.
The major projects that the government may be claimed to be financed through IF-K are two satellite campuses of Kwara State University, Malete (KWASU) and Geri-Alim Split Diamond Underpass. The Kwara state government said to spend #2.9 billion on the construction of Geri-Alim Split Diamond Underpass and #3.21 billion on the construction of two satellite campuses and, school of business and governance of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete. One in Kwara South while the other campus is located in Kwara North.
This shows that #6.11 billion is to be spent on the two major projects mentioned above out of #14.5 billion remitted so far into IF-K account through KWIRS. Some time the projects were stalled due to non release of fund to the contractors.
Despite the failure of our rulers to meet up with their responsibilities, they are making slush fund out of our sweat. They are eating fat from the taxes we are paying and the same money is using to lauch attacks on us. We are now somersaulting in penury. May God deliver us from this kleptocrazy.