"Navigating Economic Challenges: Subsidy Backlash, Taxes, and the Banks"

Feranmi Olaseinde

Feranmi Olaseinde

Jul 27, 20233 min read


"Navigating Economic Challenges: Subsidy Backlash, Taxes, and the Banks"


The sudden removal of petroleum subsidy in Nigeria has had both positive and negative impacts on the economy. While the government sees it as a relief from the burden of funding subsidies, the inflationary trend that follows such a move is not unexpected. It is crucial to learn from past experiences and ensure that the present policy is not reversed to keep the subsidy mafia in check. Additionally, the government must effectively communicate its medium and long-term policies to gain public support and prevent deception.

The Relationship Between Taxes and Revenue Generation:

Contrary to popular belief, developing countries are often wrongly accused of collecting low taxes relative to total revenue. The key lies in understanding that both saving and tax collection are derivative of income. Therefore, increasing income will result in higher saving and tax collection. However, it is essential to ensure that the collected taxes are reinvested in the economy as subsidies or investments to mitigate their negative impact.

Adam Smith's Canons of Taxation:

Adam Smith's principles of taxation, namely equity, certainty, convenience, and economy, are crucial for effective tax administration. These principles should also be extended to include productivity, elasticity, simplicity, and diversity. Tax administrators need to understand and implement these concepts to ensure efficient tax collection. However, excessive taxation can lead to a decrease in consumption, which in turn affects production, output, and employment.

The Dangers of Excessive Borrowing:

Countries resorting to excessive borrowing to meet monthly obligations face severe consequences. Borrowing leaves less money available for basic needs and consumption, dampening production and negatively impacting revenue from taxes. It is essential for countries to exercise caution and resist new borrowing, as accumulating more debt can further exacerbate economic challenges. The influence of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, in promoting borrowing should also be critically examined.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Implement Transparent Policies: The government should ensure that its medium and long-term policies are effectively communicated to the public. Transparent policies build trust, prevent deception, and maintain support for the government's initiatives.
  • 2. Focus on Income Growth: To increase tax collection and saving, governments should prioritize policies that foster income growth. This can be achieved through measures such as promoting entrepreneurship, investing in education and skills development, and creating an enabling business environment.
  • 3. Prioritize Responsible Borrowing: Governments should exercise caution when considering new borrowing. Instead, they should explore alternative strategies such as revenue diversification, reducing wasteful expenditures, and promoting public-private partnerships to meet financial obligations.


Navigating economic challenges requires a comprehensive understanding of the interconnectedness of subsidy backlash, taxes, and banking practices. By implementing transparent policies, prioritizing income growth, and exercising responsible borrowing, governments can mitigate the negative impacts of subsidy removal, ensure efficient tax collection, and maintain financial stability. It is crucial for governments to resist the temptation of excessive borrowing and focus on sustainable economic development for long-term prosperity.

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