Senators intend to tax Nigerians some more for petrol. It's a devilish piece of legislation
You should resist the move with every fibre of your being.
You should be angry. Very angry.
The obnoxious document from the lawmakers is called “The National Roads Fund Establishment Bill”.
It is a part of the 11 economic reform bills initiated by the Senate and endorsed by the House of Representatives.
Should it become law, motorists and just about everyone who uses the roads in Nigeria, will pay N5 tax on every litre of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol--and diesel--procured from any gas station.
To generate money for the National Roads Fund, lawmakers are proposing “fuel levy of five naira (N5) chargeable per litre on any volume of petrol and diesel products imported into Nigeria and on locally refined petroleum products, as well as axle load control charges.”
You’ll also be charged “toll fees (a percentage not exceeding 10% of any revenue paid as user charge per vehicle on any federal road designated as a toll road, this is not applicable to PPP roads); international vehicle transit charges; and inter-state mass transit user charge of 0.5% deductible from the fare paid by passengers to commercial mass transit operators on inter-state roads.”
To make sense of the gibberish you’ve just read, each time you make that trip to your village by road, you’ll pay a tax to the commercial bus company who would have been taxed by the federal government.
This tax will be used to fix roads, your lawmakers are saying.
Again, each time you go out there to buy petrol, you’ll be paying N5 extra for every one liter of PMS you purchase.
In very simple language, the price of petrol is about to be hiked. Again.
In more simple language, your monthly budget is about to climb even higher and your wallet is about to be hit even harder in an economic recession.
The bill was listed on the Senate’s Order Paper during plenary on Thursday. It has scaled first and second readings and is now due for a public hearing.
The only reason why it wasn’t considered for debate this week was because the Senators were eager to run out of the chamber for some fresh air.
The Senate committee on works considers the bill the best thing that will happen to the Nigerian economy since sliced bread.
The senate committee on works is led by Senator Kabiru-Gaya (APC, Kano State).
The report of the committee was signed by 15 members, namely; Gaya (chairman) Clifford Ordia (vice chairman), Mao Ohuabunwa, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Biodun Olujimi, Ben Bruce, Gilbert Nnaji, Abubakar Kyari, Ibrahim Danbaba, Mustapha Bukar, Ahmed Ogembe, Sani Mustapha and Buruji Kashamu.
It’s interesting that Senator Ben Murray-Bruce who has built a reputation on “commonsense” will append his signature on a piece of legislation that makes absolutely no sense. But that’s a subject matter for another day.
What’s important today is that this bill shouldn’t be allowed to fly. It will compound already horrible economic conditions, quadruple inflation, asphyxiate the average Nigerian some more and run many more businesses aground.
The Nigerian economy can do without more punitive taxes at this time.
Nigerians already pay all sorts of taxes to fix infrastructure and build roads. Why should they be funding road maintenance when there’s a government in place to do just that?
And should we need to fix roads so badly, here’s an idea that won’t hurt the economy—sack all lawmakers or ask them to work from home. Channel the national assembly budget into the ministry of works for roads and electricity.
In any case, where did all the monies earmarked for road construction and maintenance in the past, end up?
Your guess is as good as mine.