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.”
JUST IN: Yoruba Nation Protesters Storm Osogbo [VIDEO]
Scores of youths under the aegis of Omo Oduduwa United have stormed the streets of Osogbo capital of Osun State to agitate for the Yoruba nation.
The protesters converged on November 27 bridge in the Africa area, Osogbo for the protest.
They marched from the November 27 bridge through Ogo-Oluwa, Aregbe junction, Fakunle, Ola-Iya, and Odi Olowo areas.
The protesters carried placards, banners chanting secession songs, and distributing handbills to people along the streets.
They are heading to Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Old Garage.
The Nation had reported there was heavy security presence in major junctions of Osogbo as men of DSS, Police, JTF, Amotekun and other local operatives were on the ground.
Credit: The Nation
Restructure Your State Before Calling For Restructuring At Federal Level —- Lawan Knocks Southern Governors
Ahmad Lawan, Senate President, has cautioned Governors calling for the restructuring of the country.
Lawan, who spoke to State House correspondents on Thursday, said although he was not against those calling for restructuring, elected officials must not be among those advocating such.
According to him, state governors must ensure that they restructured their respective states first before calling for restructuring at the federal level.
He said: “The call for secession or the call for restructuring, many are genuine calls even though I never believe that someone who is calling for secession means well or is a misguided person.
“But I believe that when somebody calls for improving the structure that we have is a genuine call.
“But I want to advice here, I believe that as leaders those of us who were elected must not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because even if you are a governor you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level you have done it in your state as well.
“This is because what you may accuse the federal government of whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state.”
“So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state, and even local government work for the people and that we allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels that he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any hindrance.’’ NAN quoted him as saying.
Lawan also said Nigerians must come together regardless of their religious, ethnic, or political persuasions to find lasting solutions to the nation’s challenges.
He called on all elected leaders across the three tiers of government to always avoid primordial sentiments capable of creating division and social discontent among Nigerians.
“We should avoid partisanship, we should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. The solution must come from us regardless of what level of government we are – whether at the federal, state, or even at the local government level,’’ he added.
Lawan, who also frowned at the way the local government system was relegated to the background in the country, noted that for the nation to address its security challenges the local government system must be functional and efficient.
“I want to take this opportunity also to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute some of the security issues to the lack of a functional local government system.
“For me, I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge to ensure that the local government system functions. This is in keeping with looking for ways, for means, for solutions to the security challenges that we face. We must never neglect the local government system.
“I believe that this is one system that had worked even though in a different name. When it was Native Authority it was very effective, very efficient.
“So, we must go back to our local government to ensure that the local government continues to be autonomous, continues to be functional in order to complement whatever the States and the Federal Government would be doing.
Ohanaeze To Sanwo-Olu: Ignore Threat Of Attack On Lagos, Igbo Aren’t Violent People
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has asked Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos governor, to ignore threats of attacks on the state.
On Monday, Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, said the command is probing threats of attacks by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Oodua Republic agitators.
The groups have, however, denied the allegations.
Speaking at a meeting with Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos government house on Thursday, George Obiozor, Ohanaeze president-general, said the “rumour” is intended to distract the governor from delivering good governance to the people.
Obiozor said Igbo people are not known for acts of violence.
“Today, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, in the company of Igbo elders and leaders in Lagos, are here to pay you (Sanwo-Olu) a solidarity visit and to further reassure you that Ndigbo are not violent in nature, neither are we are known for acts of violence anywhere we live,” Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, quoted Obiozor as saying.
“[On] the constant and periodic dangerous insinuations, rumour, gossip and callous statements that Ndigbo in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland contemplate or instigate violence in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland, we wish to state clearly that anywhere this dangerous rumour or statement is emanating from is aimed to cause division, crises and conflict amongst us.
“We think that this rumour is intended to distract the Lagos State Government from its efforts to provide good governance for all and cause disaffection between Ndigbo who live in Lagos and their host community, which is the second home of several Ndigbo.
“The quick denial of this rumour by members of IPOB and Yoruba groups in Lagos and across the southwest was a source of relief.
“The Igbo nation is renowned for being agents of development, not destruction. Ndigbo are builders and their contributions to the development of Lagos State are evident and exemplary.”
Responding, Sanwo-Olu said his administration will continue to secure the lives and property of residents in the state.