Uproar Over Aregbesola’s Tax Clearance In Osun | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Uproar Over Aregbesola’s Tax Clearance In Osun

Posted: Sep 20, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Gbenga  Faturoti Osogbo

Aregbesola  and Tomori

Aregbesola and Tomori

The residents of Osogbo, Osun State Capital watched helplessly last Tuesday when pupils of Osogbo High School trooped out in droves and marched to the State Secretariat in Abere protesting against demand for their parents’ tax clearance or receipt before they would be allowed to sit for their Junior West African Examination Council (WAEC) in the state.

The students’ action is coming even when the labour movement in the state and the state government were still locking horns over the modality for the payment of their outstanding salaries from the bailout fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also within the same week, the academic staff in all the four tertiary institutions owned by the state under the auspices of Council of Academic Staff Unions of Osun State-Owned Tertiary Institutions (CASUOSTI) had staged protest over what they called pay cut in their salaries on promotion and migration of lower cadres.

The academic staff who took their protest to the state assembly for intervention noted that the policy of migration of lower cadres cannot be reversed in the state because it is an equalization policy already approved and implemented by the previous administration in the state.

The secondary pupils during the protest caused traffic gridlock along the secretariat road and chanting all sort of anti-government songs.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Mr. Lawrence Oyeniran addressed the pupils appealing to remain calm and return back to their classrooms assuring that the ministry will look into the issue.

Oyeniran stated that the tax scheme was introduced so that the parents of the students can pay their taxes. He explained that the state government gave parents up to six to be able to pay the sum of N1.500 adding that the decision was to ensure that people pay their taxes so as to afford the state government to fulfill all its obligations to the people.

Oyeniran noted that the move was to ensure regular payment of individual tax and total compliance to the tax law.

“To this end, all categories of students in all public schools in the state of Osun are now required to present their parents or guardians tax clearance certificate to school heads/principals before they can enjoy freely all government provisions such as yearly Registration for West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), Free Elementary School Feeding, attendance at lessons and writing of internal examinations among others.

“This will serve as an encouragement to the millions of naira being spent by the government of Osun in order to ensure the progress of children in public schools.

He therefore enjoined all parents and guardians in the state to give the tax clearance certificate to their children and wards for presentation in school on demand as a mark of total compliance.

It was gathered that the state government left with the option due to the financial crisis confronting the state in the payment of workers’ salaries. It directed aggressive revenue drive through its Internal Revenue Service (IRS) given it as the necessary conditions to enjoy government service(s) in all public schools in the state.

Before the implementation of the policy, the state revenue board had sensitize the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) across the 30 local government councils on the need for the presentation of tax clearance or receipt before anybody could enjoy government services in the public schools which was well embraced at the meeting held at Government Technical College, Osogbo.

The revenue board while sensitizing the PTA leadership lamented that out of total 2million taxable adults in the state, less than 100,000 adults are actually paying their taxes regularly. The remaining people are tax evaders according to the board.

Under the tax scheme, the state government therefore asked parents to pay a sum of N1.500 only as tax for three years and gave the parents association a moratorium of six months to sensitise them on the issue.

The amount, according to the Chairman of Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Mr. Dayo Oyebanji covers N1000 as tax while the remaining N500 is development levy.

He noted that the state government has done it in such a way that it is easier for parents of the pupils in public schools to conveniently pay the tax without any stress.

At the meeting, the leadership of the PTA embraced the stand of the government and even volunteered to assist the government in the collection and presentation of tax clearance and receipt.

At a stakeholders’ summit held recently, the residents are urged to imbibe the spirit of tax payment in the interest of development and growth.