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Despite Paying High Taxes, Nigerians Still Provide Water, Electricity For Themselves —– Akinwumi Adesina

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has condemned a situation where Nigerians do not enjoy basic infrastructure that should be provided by the government despite paying taxes.

Speaking at the ‘First National Tax Dialogue’ organized by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Adesina said Nigerians are among the top implicit taxpayers in the world. Implicit taxes are levies that are borne but are neither seen nor recorded.

He said residents provide their own electricity, road, security, water, among others, adding that the government must rise to its duty rather than allowing citizens to bear such burdens.

“We must also distinguish between nominal taxes and implicit taxes — Taxes that are borne but are not seen nor recorded. Truth be told, Nigerians pay one of the highest implicit tax rates in the world — way higher than developed countries,” he said.

“Think of it: they provide electricity for themselves via generators; they repair roads to their neighborhoods if they can afford to; there are no social security systems; they provide security for their own safety, and they provide boreholes for drinking water with their own monies. That is incredulous in itself. Boreholes are not the way to provide water in the 21st century. Every household should have pipe-borne water!

“Take for example that 86% of small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria spend $14 billion annually on diesel for generators. Nigeria’s companies lose on average 10% of sales because they do not have access to reliable and affordable electricity.

“Governments, over time, have simply transferred their responsibility to citizens. When governments or institutions fail to provide basic services, the people bear the burden — a heavy implicit tax on the population.”

He said Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth declined in 2020 by 2.1 percent, the worst in two decades, while the cumulative loss to Africa’s GDP is estimated at $173-236 billion for 2020 and 2021, respectively.

“The (Nigeria) economy shrunk by 3% in 2020 on account of falling oil prices and effects of the lockdowns on economic activity. The pandemic has impacted on budgetary balances and increased debt burdens,” he said.

“Nigeria’s Debt-to-GDP ratio will push debt service payments beyond more than 60% of federally collected revenues. With shrinkage in oil revenues, debt service payments pose the greatest risk to Nigeria.

“To put a human face on the pandemic effects, we estimate that 28-40 million people in Africa are projected to fall into extreme poverty, and 30 million jobs would be lost due to the pandemic.

“We project that Nigeria’s economy is poised to recover to the growth of 1.5% in 2021 and 2.9% in 2022, according to the African Development Bank’s soon to be released African Economic Outlook.”

Adesina said building back will require a lot more resources, adding that taxes form a significant part of government revenue.

He urged the federal government to focus on corporate taxes and ensure full compliance.

The AfDB president added that small and medium enterprises should be supported through tax exemptions or tax deferments.

“It is crucial to ensure that the tax base expands. Given that over 60% of Nigerians are in the informal sector, priority should be to support measures to move a large part of this from informal to formal sectors,” he said.

“The Government should focus a lot on corporate taxes, and ensure full compliance. But it is important to ensure that such taxes do not discourage investments.

“Profit shifting, base erosion, and tax avoidance by multinational corporations form a huge part of “Africa’s missing taxes”; and account for a large share of the over $60 billion illicit capital flows that Africa loses annually.

“If a company works in Nigeria, benefits from Nigeria, it should pay taxes in Nigeria. Small and medium-sized enterprises should be further encouraged and supported, as they are the lifelines of earnings and the creators of jobs. Tax exemptions or tax deferments can be used to support their growth.”

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NPHCDA: No Microchips In COVID-19 Vaccine, No Changes In DNA

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Faisal Shuaib, chief executive officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), says the belief that the COVID-19 vaccine contains microchips and changes the DNA, is false.

Nigeria received its first batch of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine containing 3.9 million doses on Tuesday.

In an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday, Shuaib said it was the responsibility of health workers and scientists to address any concern that Nigerians may have regarding the vaccine.

“We as health workers; we as scientists have been working in the last few years to make sure that we don’t take for granted any questions or concerns that Nigerians will have. It is our responsibility not to just offer the vaccine but we also have to put in the hard work to convince Nigerians, to provide them with the information around their questions. So is there a chip for example? No there is no chip in the vaccine. Is it possible that this will change your DNA? No, that doesn’t happen,” he said.

His comment comes amid misconceptions by some Nigerians concerning the vaccine — such as ”it changes the DNA; it contains chips, and it is the mark of the Antichrist”.

While addressing concerns that only the rich will get access to the vaccine, Shuaib said the distribution will only be done according to priority — with frontline health workers as first priority followed by vulnerable groups.

”We have not already allotted these vaccines to the rich people or the people in the urban areas. Absolutely not. The president has been very clear , and the vice-president has also added his voice. The Chairman of the presidential task force (PTF) has communicated this, and in our PTF media briefing, we’ve made it very clear in terms of who we’re going to prioritize. The first group of people who are going to be taking this vaccine are the frontline health workers,” he said.

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COVID Vaccines Not Allotted To Rich People —– FG

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The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said contrary to widespread insinuations, the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid vaccines presently in the country have not been apportioned to “rich people”.

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, made this known while featuring on Channels Television’sSunrise Daily’ programme.

Nigeria on Tuesday received nearly four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO.

The 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine arrived in Abuja at noon on Tuesday.

Speaking on the delivery of the vaccines on Wednesday, the agency boss said, “We are protecting the vaccines very closely, we’ve increased security around the vaccines to make sure that unauthorized access is not possible.

“So, we are waiting on NAFDAC. We feel that they are going to do all of the checks that are necessary and once they give us the green light, we will be ready to roll out the vaccines.”

Asked whether the vaccines have been shared among influential people, Shuaib said, “I will tell you categorically that we have not allotted these vaccines to the rich people or to the people in the urban areas, absolutely not. Mr. President has been very clear.

“Mr Vice President has also added his voice and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force has communicated this at the Presidential Task Force media briefings. He has made it very clear in terms of who we are going to prioritize and I will repeat it here again that the first set of people who are going to be taking these vaccines are those people who have sacrificed in the last one year taking care of all Nigerians that have come down with Covid-19. So, the frontline health workers.

“On Friday, we are going to be launching the vaccines, we are going to be rolling them out at the treatment centers at the national hospital. Our priority will be the health workers that are frontline. We are going to be giving these vaccines to first responders.

“We are also going to be looking at people outside of the health sector who are at risk of getting Covid-19. We are going to be looking at those strategic leaders like Mr President and the Vice-President, those people who will also want to take the vaccines publicly so that they can motivate the followers to take the vaccines, to convince them that the vaccines are very safe.”

He enjoined Nigerians who wish to receive the vaccines to register on the website of the NPHCDA, adding that over 2.3 million Nigerians have registered in the past few hours.

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FG To Clamp Down On Individuals, Bodies Sponsoring Upheavals

Peter Okunoren

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The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to henceforth clamp down on individuals and groups sponsoring upheavals with the sole aim to destabilize the nation.

It has also given a directive to security agencies to immediately commence the arrest of such individuals on the security watch list of the government.

The National Security Adviser to the President, Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), who made this known while speaking with reporters at the end of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday, said the Council also banned mining operations in Zamfara state due to the activities of unscrupulous elements that have threatened the peace of the state.

According to him, the government has enough information about those fanning the embers of disunity in the country and will now go after them.

He said the government had intelligence report that certain individuals and groups were still hell-bent on ensuring that crisis persists across the nation and will now go after them and get them arrested for necessary prosecution.

Details later…

 

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