Year 2022? We don’t need a soothsayer. Nor do we require a stargazer to know what you hold in stock for us.
Even now, we can feel you’re your indexes are fretful. They are confronting and staring us in the face. They are scary and frightening.
The indicators are not anything pleasant. They are pointing negative.
Our heartbeats are being hyped by the second. And that is extremely dangerous.
We are bedevilled by an uncommon misfortune. Each time we look back, our previous years have always been “better.” This is strange. It can only happen here in our uncanny clime.
It has been a bitter experience all the way. Our lot, what a heavy cross! If it happens this way, this time around, we may be gone forever. God forbid!
Sadly enough, our rulers are not helping matters. We are being messed up. Their actions, inactions and body language are doing us huge damage. The calamities and casualties are enormous.
And there’s no stopping them. We are left naked with no viable alternative. Their policies and decisions are our nightmare. We groan, moan and wail. We even bleat.
Poor us, no end in sight. They seem to enjoy our pains, sobs and cries. That is where they happen to derive satisfaction and fulfilment. The reason they selfishly laud themselves as being performing.
They keep on beating their fleshy chests. They continue to shamelessly roll out figures from the moon as achievements. Data and statistics, which are at variance with what we experience daily.
Their claims are poles apart from the stark realities on the ground. Yet, they stick to the falsehood. They are comfortable at home with lies.
They deadly stick on to their fabrications, falsifications and fictions. They don’t give a hearing to our feelings. We matter not to them.
That is why they resolve to choke us to death. And they mean it. They want to snuff out the remaining life in us. That they have brought us from “top to bottom” in the last six years is not enough for them.
They remain restless and restive. They are not happy we still have some happiness in us. They insist we must be run aground. And completely too! That’s where they are heading.
So? In 2022, they want to finish us up. We must be buried for them to live. It’s a package. Their remaining 17 months ought to be horrible and miserable for us.
That is the ugly picture they are painting for us in their chambers. They are churning out grim and awful blueprints, formulas and plans.
Recently, they dressed up one such draft as Finance Bill. Whatever that means to them. In it, they parcelled sorrow, tears and blood. It is to be unleashed on us in 2022.
They wickedly labelled it Finance Bill. But we thought differently. We rightly christened it its real name: Overburden Tax Bill.
That’s exactly what it is. And it remains eternally that. No window dressing, no fake baptism of any sort. It is Killer Tax Bill (KTB). That we know and are sure of.
One of them, Zainab Ahmed, made it open nearly two weeks ago. She holds fort for President Muhammadu Buhari as Minister of Finance.
She was honest enough. She told us to brace up for more hardship. The bill will visit more heavy taxes on us. She was frank. We can’t escape it in 2022. And that’s the truth.
She wasn’t kidding: “Our aspiration is to do a midterm review with a possibility of another Finance Bill in mid-year 2022 to bring in more amendments.” More suffering!
It was the Trade Union Congress (TUC) that brought it nearer home to us. Its president, Quadri Olaleye, took the pains to break it down. He told us in clear terms:
“The increase in taxes through the Finance Bill at the National Assembly will throw more Nigerians into the employment market and more companies shutting down.”
He offered some far-reaching solutions. He made a profound case for the common man, the downtrodden in our midst. He sought reduction of electronic money transfer levy of N50 to N10. He saw this as multiple-taxation. His grouse:
“The levy should only affect transfer of N50,000 or above and the sharing formula of 15 per cent to the federal and 85 per cent to the states should be maintained.”
Olaleye was meticulous: “Any person or workers receiving as low as N50,000 per month should be exempted from Personal Income Tax. The N30,000 in the law should be increased to N50,000 as tax relief to low-income earners.
“The current rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) should be reduced from 7.5 per cent to its original rate of five per cent.” His reason: “Organisations and workers are already contending with multiple taxes, which, to a large extent, is discouraging investors.”
He told it as he deemed it fit: “Federal Government and all policymakers should churn out policies that will be all-inclusive, re-distribute wealth and re-direct social economic behaviour of the people.”
You cannot fault Olaleye. He spoke to the throne like an oracle. We are to be taxed out of existence. They are not kind enough to consider the injuries inflicted on us.
Let’s come to the present moment. You will surely weep at our pitiable plight. We are already overtaxed, overburdened, overstretched and heavily laden. All these and even more happened to us in the last six years.
Horrendous samplers of our agony would baffle you. They are trending all over: “Stamp duty introduced on your savings accounts; VAT up from five per cent under PDP to 7.5 per cent; fuel price up from N87 to N165 and exchange rate of the $ up from N180 to N580.
“Debts from $8 billion to $90 billion, all in six years; inflation now stands at 18 per cent up from six per cent pre-2015 and unemployment is at an all-time high of about 40 per cent!
“Today, we are number two in the world as the most terrorised country.”
And our stiff-necked rulers still pretend to feign ignorance of our woes. They would rather choose to torment us the more. They never contemplate any semblance of relief for us.
For them, we should not be given that rare opportunity. The luxury will be too much for us to manage. It will further spoil us. That is their bizarre thinking; so absurd and awful.
Wicked souls all! In the face of this gloomy future, government is unperturbed. They don’t mean well for us. They forge ahead scheming, playing kite with our life.
They go about, cap in hand, borrowing with abundant recklessness. They know they would probably not be around to pay it back. They opt to endanger generations yet unborn.
The National Development Plan 2021-2025 is their ready-made tool. And they are making the maximum of it. Guess what, N50.22 trillion debt is their target. They are desperate to achieve it by 2023. They would have drained us dry by the time they are done with us.
That’s the next level where they are taking us. Nothing will hinder them. They are roaring like a lion, moving like a bulldozer with the speed of light.
These weird and eerie species! They won’t stop at making life more unbearable for us. Borrowing is their ultimate. The more they borrow, the merrier for them. We are out of their frightful reckoning.
That we survived so far remains a mystery to them. They can’t comprehend it. They wonder how we did it. They are pained we made their last six years still standing.
That frustration is reflected in their arrogant utterances. They do this with disdain and pride. They open their wild mouth wide. They vomit lies, falsehoods, misinformation, dis-information, et al.
They pronounce what is not as if it were. And they swear it is. The approach is dastardly. They keep on repeating the same lies many times over. That is their stock in trade. #Loriiro is it!
These are the land mines being laid for us in 2022. They are the booby traps confronting us daily. The very handiwork of our rulers. And it’s deliberate.
The reason we must tread softly and with precision. We need to be extremely cautious. These are the rulers we detest to desire.
And God will see us through.