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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'You are Demanding Tax From the Dead': The Introduction of Direct Taxation and its Aftermath in South-Eastern Nigeria, 1928-39
Author:Naanen, Ben
Periodical:African Economic History
Geographic term:Nigeria
fiscal policy
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
Politics and Government
Abstract:Studies of taxation in southern Nigeria have tended to focus on the Women's War of 1929. The present paper argues that direct taxation was a revolutionary innovation in the area which requires a more detailed analysis and reinterpretation of events. Based mainly on archival sources, some of which have hardly been examined hitherto, the paper explores the process of the introduction of direct taxation in southeastern Nigeria, the political and social consequences of that introduction, as well as its implications for the government's fiscal and economic policies during the period under consideration (1929-1939). Other questions addressed include the relationship between taxation, the export economy and public finance, as well as the contribution of taxation policy and tax money to social development. The paper shows that increasing government revenue needs and the lack of sustainability of forced labour, which was the dominant form of indirect taxation in southern Nigeria, made direct taxation inevitable. The key factor in the anti-tax resistance was not the 'natural' unwillingness to pay tax, but a hitherto unidentified combination of the collapse in commodity prices and the concomitant depreciation of the manilla currency. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]