Report By ActionAid Nigeria Publicity Arm
ActionAid Nigeria has commended the Nigeria federal government for admitting there is need to focus more on tax as reliable revenue generation. The organisation also commended the federal executive council on its decision to tackle tax evasion and incentives abuse by businesses n the country.
The anti-poverty organisation, in conjunction with her partners in the Nigeria Tax Justice and Governance (NTJ&G) platform has for over two years been calling on government to look more at tax as source of revenue for development interventions in the country.
In a statement issued by the organisation, Tunde Aremu, ActionAid Nigeria’s Policy Advocacy and Campaigns Manager, stated that “we agree with the federal executive council that there is now a need to tackle the problem of tax evasion and tax avoidance. This is in line with our argument that the amount of revenue the country loses as a result of uncollected tax over the years is enough to address development needs of the country.”
ActionAid Nigeria, which launched its Tax Justice campaign in July this year, stated that “for several years, avoidance of tax payment and illicit flow of fund from the country through the use of tax havens and secrecy jurisdiction has been largely responsible to lack of fund for the financing of development agenda in the country and invariably deepening of poverty among the citizens”.
While ActionAid threw its weight behind the government decision to tackle the challenge of tax evasion and tax avoidance, it however asked the government to stop giving undeserved incentives to rich corporations.
According to Aremu, “while we agree with government that tax evasions by all businesses must stop, it is important for government to note that the real revenue loss is as a result of the unwholesome practices of tax avoidance by the multinationals and the granting of undeserved incentives to big corporations by governments”
Aremu stated further that “while the government’s argument’s in the past that incentives are given to attract foreign investments, experience has shown that the incentives are the least of the reasons for foreign investors going into any country.
“There are also evidences that apart from the fact that companies that have been given tax breaks by the Nigeria authorities have made profits in their first year of operations than they have made in other business jurisdictions, many of them have abused such incentives and have continued to refuse to meet their obligations associated with the incentives”
The anti-poverty agency’s campaigns manager called on the government that “instead of targeting small and medium enterprises, the government should concentrate efforts on targeting big multinationals and national corporations, which are the real culprits for the nation’s loss of valuable revenue”.