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Now That Nigeria Is Planning To Start Collecting Tax From Beggars, What Is Next?

nigeria collect tax from beggars

June 20, 2017 – Now That Nigeria Is Planning To Start Taxing Beggars, What Is Next?

By Tony Ogunlowo

In an attempt to raise much needed funds, the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has come up with the most ludicrous suggestions of all time : she plans to tax even beggars on their ‘earnings’. She made this perfectly clear at a news conference in Lagos recently.

kemi adeosunKemi Adeosun

May I remind the Honourable Minister that ‘begging’ is not actually an occupation but rather a means to survive in times of harsh economic times. Nobody wants to go on the streets and beg for alms – for some it’s a necessity; the alms they receive from charitable people enables them to survive. Yes, there are some professional beggars but not all of them are.

But if the minister is still intent on taxing beggars hopefully she hasn’t forgotten about also taxing armed robbers, cultists, kidnappers ( – ‘Evans’ didn’t pay any tax on the billions he earned from kidnapping!), drug smugglers, Yahoo yahoo boys etc. There’s a long list of people who earn a fortune in the ‘black economy’ and never pay a penny in tax. Some of these people earn more money than most honest people will ever see in a lifetime!

And will she also be taxing any of the bribes or backhanders her fellow ministers and politicians periodically receive? And what about the Fulani herdsmen? They don’t pay any tax (- but who’s brave enough to ask them for it?)

Surely there are many other ways to raise funds through taxing; the Finance Minister just needs to be a little bit more creative – and reasonable. For instance how about a tax on people who have big second homes? Or what about taxing a little bit extra on people who have private planes and yachts? It won’t hurt their bank balances! And what about all the religious organisations who hide under the façade of ‘non-profitable organisations’ ? I can name a few ‘fat-cat-non-profitable-ventures’ beggars (aka pastors!) who need taxing; they live bourgeois and opulent lifestyles financed by the charitable contributions of their church members. In reality they are just sophisticated beggars who prey on their vulnerable congregation. Bishop Oyedepo, for instance, can afford to pay a little more tax on his ‘non-profitable-ventures’ earnings.

If this goes ahead it’ll be interesting to see how it will be implemented; will an army of ‘beggar’ tax collectors be employed to collect taxes? How will you determine what they will pay? Or how do you determine how much they earn from begging? How will you enforce such a law? Currently more than 97% of the population of Lagos state don’t pay any tax at all!

Perhaps the real problem is how easy it is to avoid paying tax in Nigeria; you can bribe a tax official to give you a tax clearance certificate; you can operate off the grid, in a black market environment and the authorities will never know or you can simply refuse to pay a tax summons – who’s going to enforce it?

To generate funds through taxation, which is vital for any nations’ growth, an adequate and fair system needs to be put in place.

The taxation system needs to be transparent for all so that everyone pays the correct tax based on their income. Tax loopholes, like the so-called ‘non-profitable ventures’ need to be assessed properly or outlawed. Then there needs to be a system that will collect and enforce non-payment of such – if 97% of people in Lagos don’t pay tax and you can’t enforce it you have a problem.

It’s all good and fair the minister is making plans to tax everybody but without a proper system in place she is just wasting her time.

Surely there must be other ways or means of raising funds without having to resort to harassing the least fortunate members of society for their measly widow’s mite.

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  1. Metu Nyetu

    July 20, 2017 at 5:09 AM

    SOMETIMES WHEN I LISTEN to Kemi Adeosun, I wonder if it is not only English that she knows how to speak. To think that she would ever suggest taxing beggars is wonderfully awful. Has the government utilized the huge tax it already milks from the populace that it feels justified to collect more tax? Tax payers’ money is continually wasted in this country through both legal and illegal channels. Even if the government feels the need to tax more, they should look towards the stinking rich in a nation where more than 95% is poor. Mrs Kemi Adeosun should leave beggars alone, for their money is not earned.

  2. Iwarefa Dominic

    July 20, 2017 at 5:43 AM

    she must be joking who the hell does she think she is

  3. Mon

    July 20, 2017 at 6:21 AM


  4. mulikat

    July 20, 2017 at 6:52 AM

    really joking, she and rest in Govt, should stop stealing naija money, the ones they steal before,they should take over money and properties ,sale them and give back to naija poor people,tax Beggars ke.

  5. sam

    July 20, 2017 at 7:49 AM

    Whether she is joking or not, she shows that she does not understand government responsibility and she is devoid of human pity. There are so many beggars in Nigeria because the government Fails to care for its citizen. There is no much Jobs in Nigeria . There is no social welfare in Nigeria. These are the causes of high crime rate and begging in Nigeria. The Government can tax people on cars, Houses to generate Money . How are my sure that the churches are even taxed. And do we even make good use of the Money we get from tax. I think we have lost our priority and most people in government who pivot our affairs are local products. Most are not well exposed and they are only good in speaking nigerian English. Some times they think they speak english better than the Queen of England. The owner of english. We no well.


    July 20, 2017 at 9:46 AM

    I don’t think she really meant that, maybe she was making an instance. But if she really meant it, that mean I’m totally agree with @ Metu Nyetu that it is only English she knows how to speak, And speaking too much Crammer will not solve our economic problem in Nigeria.. who is beggars compare to those business morgue in Banana Island,Lekki, park view and the rest of them. Madam go back to your drawing board

  7. kemi ade

    July 20, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    She dey craze

  8. uzoma

    July 20, 2017 at 1:07 PM

    Collecting tax from beggars? please lets not say it loud to avoid being ridiculed by outside world. Lets say it is a slip of the tongue. What happens to taxing the stupendous rich people including those who acquire their wealth through illegal means?

  9. Anike

    July 20, 2017 at 1:34 PM

    In civilised society people still beg, though their govt don’t encourage it but it is a known fact that there will always be such people in the society no matter what. Please leave beggars alone.

  10. oby

    July 20, 2017 at 2:28 PM

    may be she is a Lagosian, because in Lagos the hausa boys who sells water on the street with wheelbarrow buys ticket, the once who pack dirts from peoples’ houses buys ticket everyday. the once selling with their market on the heads buys ticket. so she must be from lagos.

  11. Endurance

    July 20, 2017 at 2:29 PM

    This is the most incongruous,bizarre and unintelligible suggestion I’ve ever heard from any government official in our country. Can our finance minister mrs Kemi Adeosun please tell us the rationale behind her advice. When has begging become an occupation in Nigeria that beggars will now be liable to being taxed by the government? Taxing the beggars is an indirect way of legalizing and authorising such act as an acceptable practise that is backed by Nigerian Government. The negative impact such begging will have in our society will be profound. Many will begin to disguised and flock to begging as an easy option to make ends meet without any capital investment. Authority will be powerless to punish anyone pretending as a bagger to extort money from others because the accusers will insist they are paying their tax. the numbers of beggars will drastically increase with no one knowing who is real beggars or not. That measure suggested if passed into law, will greatly encourage laziness,nuisance and criminality in our society. Various secular and religious organisations that are supposed to be paying tax are not being mentioned by her. But her attention is only focus on those struggling to look for alternative to survive the harsh economic condition our country. Rather than taxing the blind,lame,the deaf and the infirm ones without help, the administration should focus their attention on alleviating the enormous sufferings that beset Nigerians. This is sick administration.

  12. Glorypraise

    July 20, 2017 at 5:12 PM

    They need to collect tax from beggars bcom d govt needs more money to pay for the President’s treatment, Presidential plane hanger rent in Uk,his aids feedings & accommodation. Senators’ wardrobe allowances, reps allowances & so on. Pls help me to add more.
    Go out there, workers are not paid, sellers display their goods everyday without patronage, etc, the govt has no remedy for all these, and they are still talking.
    Many jobless graduates, who were advised to go for farming without farmland.
    Anyway sha, God will help us.

  13. rita

    July 20, 2017 at 7:21 PM

    I mean, this government is realy confused,i can not believe that these are ministers that the president waited for six good months before appointing them,he who dont want to lose a drop of soup sometimes risk losing the whole pot of soup.i have never seen what all thses special selected ministers are doing.

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