Sunday, 24th September 2023

Tax on soft drinks to encourage consumption of Kunu and Zobo?

By Eniola Daniel
31 October 2019   |   1:54 am
For the first time after the death of my dear mother on September 14, 2019, I read and saw another reason to shed tears. NIGERIA!!!!!.. Someone suggested that it is time to cry and call on Britain to come and make a correction to the defective marriage of 1914 since Nigerians...

Zobo drink and zobo leaves | Photo – Legit Ng

For the first time after the death of my dear mother on September 14, 2019, I read and saw another reason to shed tears. NIGERIA!!!!!.. Someone suggested that it is time to cry and call on Britain to come and make a correction to the defective marriage of 1914 since Nigerians may not consider protesting as a way of demanding fairness. But is there any reason to call for foundational correction? I am just on the fence. I only ask questions just like in Tosin Gbogi of the Department of English Studies, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko’s Locomotives, and Other Songs.

What do you think about the government that tries so much to make Nigerians productive by taking the campaign for the creation of RUGA across the country seriously more than showing concern for the 10.5 million out of school children (‘Education’ is really for the westerners). One in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria. Even though primary education is officially free and compulsory, about 10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. But the federal government earmarked N2.25 billion for the implementation of Ruga settlements in the 2019 budget, according to the presidency.

For 2020, Nigeria’s budget for education is N48 billion. South Africa is budgeting N6.28 trillion (R262B). If you divide SA education budget among 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, each will get N170 billion. Next year, Nigeria will have one of the lowest education budgets in Africa.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, in its 2015 report titled ‘Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges,’ recommended that 15 to 20 per cent should be allocated to education in the national budgets of developing countries but Nigeria has not made effort to meet the global standard.

I think Nigerians who were surprised about the government’s decision to tax everything under the sky are ignorant of the extent the president could go to make Nigeria work. VAT increase for us, POS Charges for us, Communications Tax for us, Attempted USSD Tax for us but newspaper allowance for them. Wardrobe Allowance for them. N5 Billion luxury cars for them. Yet, ’Nigeria has no money.

If the President could push the Ruga agenda above the education of the Almajirs in the north, you should know that General Buhari is willing to push for anything including coming back to support charging of Nigerians for the use of the recently adopted and suspended charges on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).

While the decision to raise tax on soft drinks might have raised specks of dust in some quarters, it is actually a call to challenge our Chemical Engineering and Organic Chemistry graduates to take advantage of Kunu and Zobo production which requires little technicality. Don’t you think so too? This will reduce the number of people that lost their jobs between 2015 and now.

Just think of this, unemployment has consistently been on the rise, hence posing serious dangers to the security of lives and property. The number of unemployed persons in the country is put at 20.9 million in the third quarter of 2018, according to statistics released by the National Bureau Statistics (NBS). So, local production could help reduce the unemployment rate.

I will never support Biafra due to the rude words of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu (My condolence on the death of his beloved mother), how can you say the ‘obvious’ that Nigeria is a zoo? Truth is bitter and it’s un-Nigerian to say the fact publicly. I can’t even support the call for Oduduwa republic because I am now a global citizen. I am not a Yoruba or Igbo, that is, I belong to no land, but if you call me an American, I think I will consider sharing a bottle of Amarula with you even though I don’t drink anything above five per cent alcoholic.

My non-Nigerian or Yoruba talk is not in any way influenced by the declaration of former Minister of Aviation, Chief Fani Kayode who dissociated himself from the nomenclature because of the meaning of the word Yoruba or Yoriba (Meaning unreliable in the Hausa language). But I must let everyone know that I am in favour of the regional government because it will encourage healthy rivalry and help the regions to develop at their own pace.

Really, I can only support tax raise on soft drinks if Kunu and Zobo are produced in large quantities like the way Nigerians are enjoying Kano rice (according to them, Rice produced in Kano can feed Nigeria’s population). But without that, I may lead the call for revolution, maybe I may be picked up to spend some time with Omoyele Sowore. That guy is not my friend but I love him more than my father, for reasons I will not want to make a public consumption.

Who is advising Buhari? who is really Buhari’s friend? Does anybody really discuss the national issues with him? Because I am sure baba no longer reads newspapers because The Guardian editorial is just enough to read and reverse some of his policies. But I can’t blame the president, I pity him for facing another opposition stronger than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Aisha Political Party (APP) and Mamman Daura Party (MDP). They are both strong parties which N90 billion cannot defeat.

The citizens should be blamed also for the Buhari administration’s policies. We are just so blessed with the ability to suffer and smile, complain and complain and say it’s well. We will collect our share again during the election. No be so?

Even if we decide to overlook the Honk Kong protest because we are indebted to the Chinese government and may not want them to stop the rail construction or take over the government because of the amount of money we owe them, why not use the Lebanese as an example? They are pushing for a better deal after the government announced taxing WhatsApp users, I think we can do the same.

I’m not telling anyone to protect. I’m only trying to question our mindset when we praise olori ole that stole billions from the government or praise the one that drank N30 Milo before campaign and budget N130 million for food in a year and hang Agbewure ta, to think if it’s right for a man who stole N100 to be sent to jail and the man that drove two bullion van to his mansion in an election period walk freely. The Nigerian Customs is making N5 billion daily but we are still borrowing. They want to raise tax on soft drinks so they can return the 100 million people you claimed to have raised from poverty to where they came from?
Daniel wrote from Lagos.