The introduction of N1,500 education tax per child, otherwise referred to as Tax Bonanza by Osun state government following its inability to pay workers’ salaries due to dwindling revenue, has started generating uproar among the parents in the state. And any moment from now, the issue may degenerate into uncontrollable crisis in the state.
ENCOMIUM Weekly was informed by an impeccable source that some parents are finding it difficult now fulfilling the compulsory obligation which guarantees their wards’ education in the state as a result of the harsh economy in the country; hence the decision to revolt any time soon.
“It seems everything is not just in favour of Governor Aregbesola. People in the state are now very hostile to most of his policies, especially concerning education and welfare of civil servants.
“I learnt the education tax introduced in the state sometime in 2015 is now a burden to parents as most of them have more than four children in schools with a child paying N1,500 in a year.
“And as we all know, the state is very dry at the moment. Everybody is just lamenting. So, parents have started condemning the pledge by the chairman of Parent Teachers Association (PTA) in the state, Mr. Demola Ekundayo for pledging parents’ willingness to complement the efforts of the government in the provision of qualitative education in the state by paying the newly introduced tax. And any time from now, they may turn against Aregbesola on that.
“Months back, some secondary school students writing the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) protested against the demand for their parents’ tax clearances before entering examination halls. So, the issue is yet to die down”
Few of the parents ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke to confirm the situation. They, however, advised the state government to revisit the issue before it gets out of hand.
A parent, Mr. Adeloye Samuel, who spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly from Osogbo, the state capital, on Sunday, April 10, 2016 said, “The issue of school children paying tax, no matter how small, is an aberration. Where in the country are they doing that? And Aregbesola is claiming free education. That’s worse than day light robbery. Things are hard in the state now. So, the government should just reconsider the issue or better still Aregbesola should stop saying education is free in Osun.”
Another resident of the state who has five children lamented, “With five children, I will be paying N7,500 per year. Now, the payment has been back dated to 2013, that means I will have to pay about N23,000. And I just paid N7,500. Where do I get the balance now that economy is bad? Even, when it was good, we didn’t feel it in Osun state. I think Aregbesola needs to listen to people’s advice. He should just concentrate on important issues and forget all these useless capital projects draining the meager resources of the state. Is this free education they told us? Anyway, 2018 is almost here. I don’t think APC can rule Osun state again.”
Meanwhile, the state government has justified the introduction of the new tax system in a statement by the state Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Lawrence Oyeniran, the decision is to enable the state government fulfill all its obligations to the people of the state as the state revenue at the moment is nothing to write home about.