Sunday, 28 February 2010

So… taxes...

(Strictly for the young)
TAXES. I understand them in principle. You give money back to the state so the state can do more work.
The concept of paying taxes is actually really cool. The idea that somehow, the money you give is then used to do amazing things in the country.
And while my generation might not have grown up with that idea instilled in us, it is slowly but surely being learned. So now we have to get used to the idea of paying taxes. All the million versions that there are.
So no, we do not mind paying tax. But may I just ask the Federal Inland Revenue, and the state level, why we pay so much and still get so little?
They say we are paying for things to get done, but we still have no power.
I could have said, ‘consistent’ power, but let us face it. We spend more hours in darkness than we do in the light in Nigeria.
So, why do we pay our taxes consistently when we have no consistent government-generated electricity, and still have to buy generators, back-up generators, diesel, petrol and candles.
Why are we paying our taxes when the roads are bad and in some areas, are getting even worse?
I hear you now pay taxes when you buy a new car? But should we not be given money back for all the damage done to our shocks by the bad roads?
So we pay our taxes but still sit in traffic or six hours?
When will we get a ‘sitting in the sun’ rebate?
We pay taxes but we do not have running water.
We pay taxes and then queue at the station for hours, and pay double the amount for the 10 litres of fuel we can afford to buy.
Has anyone sat down to calculate the new average standard of living? Does anyone know how much a small business spends just to stay afloat?
Where are the concessions? The benefits?
There is nothing wrong with taxes. But what do we get back?
A dream?
A promise?

Chop money talk

(Just Life)
SHE’s getting married soon and perhaps, because I have been married for quite a while now, she thought I’d be able to give her some tips on marriage.
I realised she was serious and so, couldn’t laugh because I mean, really who am I to give anyone any tip about marriage.
I told her as much. I told her that if there’s one sure thing I have learnt about marriage, it is that what works in one home won’t in another.
Time and time again, I have encountered situations in some homes that have left me speechless mostly because I know that such a thing would never occur in my home.
And sometimes what causes a problem in one home is what brings the members of another family together.
I like to watch the somewhat controversial TV programme, Wife Swap and you’ll notice that the wives are usually taken out of their comfort zones (their homes) and taken into homes where things are done a little differently.
I guess the whole idea is to let each person appreciate their spouses, their lives better.

ANYWAY back to the matter at hand. I could tell she was a little disturbed about what she wanted to ask and since she insisted I let her anyway.
I must admit that I was curious to know what could be bothering her. She asked ‘How do you get your ‘chop money’? Is it weekly or monthly?’
‘Chop money’? That’s the question. That’s what you want to know?’
‘Yes ma. Right now he is giving me weekly and I want to know if that’s okay’
‘Well, it all depends. It depends on what suits you, what suits him and what suits your family but remember that as your family changes what may be okay now may not be in a few years.’
‘What about how much to ask for?’
Ah, that one is more difficult to answer o because it all depends on your incomes, your wants and needs, and how much you intend to put aside for a rainy day.’
‘My friend said she gets 20,000 per week but she has two kids. I don’t know if I should take something less as we don’t have kids yet.’
‘Let me tell you something, few women tell the truth about how much they really get because we want to avoid being judged. If they think you are getting 20, then they could tell you 20,000 if they feel you are equals but the amount can change depending on who is doing the asking.’
CHOP money talk no dey finish. Men have numerous horror stories about how we, women, inflate our housekeeping bills to allow us buy luxuries.
Well, every woman for herself and all that but I believe if we were sure we would get most or all of what we asked for we probably wouldn’t need to lie to get a little extra.
Besides, most women put their children first so when we ask for more money than you think we need, it is usually because we want to get something extra for them, which we know you, the husband, will most probably not believe they need.
A dear friend once advised that I double our needs and keep whatever is extra for all those extras that we sometimes need to get -- be it clothes, ice-cream or whatever for whomever.
I wanted to know how she dealt with her conscience and she wanted to know who should be responsible for all her expenses if not her husband!
And if he wouldn’t pay knowingly then she would have to make him pay one way or another.
I like to joke that I have ‘misappropriated my house keeping funds’ to be able to buy one thing or another. But I know it isn’t really a joke and now you and my dearly beloved much adored spouse knows too!

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