On January 19, 2015, when I saw at the front page of the ‘De Standard,’ one Belgium’s newspapers that O.C.M.W will close its offices in 2019, I wasn’t surprised at all, knowing perfectly long ago that, the financial institutions assisting both citizens and foreigners, haven’t any more money in its coffers to continue running due to financial mismanagement.
Poverty, ethnic conflicts and war, have brought many Africans to Europe in search of greener pastures. The chase for money has shut down the mind of many Africans to the extent that many are not aware of what is going on around them, when education and learning facilities are available to increase their knowledge. The harder I tried to integrate, the more I realized Belgium’s social and political problems.
The public transport ‘De Lijn,’ official sits behind the ticket counter, reading newspaper, while waiting to buy ticket. I challenged the woman and she angrily refused to serve me, forcing me to join the Metro without a ticket. I sent a registered letter to ‘De Lijn’ company over what the woman did. I received a letter from the company saying, they were sorry this happened, but they couldn’t traced the woman who did that.
Excerpts From the book: Little Boygium-Wonderful Experience.
The Misappropriation Of Funds By The O.C.M.W.
The ‘Openbaar Centrum Maatschappelijk Welzijn’or the O.C.M.W is a social welfare center that unknowingly made many financial mistakes that affected their future. As a social welfare center that provided social services for the well-being of every Belgian citizen, they gave money to jobless individuals, but they didn’t put pressure on the citizens to find jobs. The organization offered financial help, accommodation, medical assistance and jobs for many unemployed, but took too many people with insufficient income into consideration.
Even though the organization investigated the situation or resources of all applicants before giving assistance, they made many grave mistakes which have presently created a deep financial crisis. The misappropriation of funds and blunders committed by the O.C.M.W can never be rectified.
Today, they are facing a terribly unanticipated financial crisis. Some of the people they assisted, even those that were not disabled, completely refused to look for a job because the financial assistance provided them with all the money they needed. The social company would assist an unemployed individual with 900 Euros monthly, and since they would likely only earn 1100 Euros if they worked, they would simply choose to not work at all. Without pressure from the O.C.M.W, many people remained on the social list for years, enjoying and living on the taxpayers’ money.
Another mistake the Belgian authorities made was keeping many of the refugees on the waiting list for two to four years, leaving them to depend fully on the benefits of the O.C.M.W, without given them papers to work. At one time, there were refugees, who had requested for political asylum, living better than some of the hard-working Belgian citizens. Just imagine asylum seekers, saving enough money to buy cars and driving through the city, wasting fuel that many of the hard working citizens couldn’t afford.
Refugees without working permits were driving, but they avoided the expensive practical driving cost and theory examination. The simple method to get them behind the steering-wheel was to go to the municipal to change their driving licenses. There were specific countries in which drivers’ licenses could easily be changed. Within the shortest period, the Antwerp police recorded a high number of road accidents.
The Tax Office in Antwerp: More Evidence of Belgium’s Severe Financial Crisis.
I started working very early as an immigrant in Belgium. Belgium is one of the European countries that has a flexible taxation compared to other European countries. Before the arrival of my family from Africa, I received tax returns from the tax office yearly. But things went sour when my family arrived.
Imagine when single, I received money from the Tax office, so I need to ask the reason in the year 2012, I paid back 1,800 Euros to the tax office and the year 2013, it significantly increased to 3,800 Euros, when I earned less than 20,000 Euros per year. It’s hard to explain. I went to the tax office, but they couldn’t give me any significant reason to pay this amount.
It’s an office, you can’t argue with them and win, even if they are wrong, so I paid the 3,800 Euros. We are in 2015 and I am still waiting for my tax letter against 2014. Only God knows the outcome, but from every angle, one could clearly see that the tax office is in serious financial crisis, which has affected the whole country.