• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Oxfam advocate taxing ‘super-rich’ to address mass poverty, overlapping crisis in Nigeria

How incoming government can curb economic, financial crisis — Oxfam

OXFAM Nigeria, has called on the government to adopt taxation of ‘super rich’ Nigerians and big corporations as a way of addressing overlapping crises occasioned by poverty and inequality in the country.

In its recent global inequality report titled: ‘Survival of the Richest’, OXFAM said the wealth of Nigerian billionaires has grown by a third since the COVID-19 pandemic without a corresponding increase in health budgets.

The report showed that a wealth tax of 2 percent on the millionaires, 3 percent on those with wealth above $50 million, and 5 percent on the Nigerian billionaires would raise $3.2 billion annually.

“Oxfam is calling for a systemic and wide-ranging increase in taxation of the super-rich to claw back crisis gains driven by public money and profiteering.

“Decades of tax cuts for the richest and corporations have fueled inequality, with the poorest people in many countries paying higher tax rates than billionaires.

“While millions of Nigerians are unsure where their next meals will come from, the super-rich are getting richer and not paying their fair share of taxes but taking advantage of the complexities and loopholes in the tax legislation, as well as the lack of transparency and accountability in tax implementation, thereby depriving the country of the revenue needed for social protection and inequality reduction” said Vincent Ahonsi, Country Director, Oxfam International.

For him, the revenue gained from the wealth tax would be enough to double health spending as Nigeria has one of the lowest health budgets in the world.

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He decried that three quarters of the world’s governments are planning austerity-driven public sector spending cuts including on healthcare and education by $7.8 trillion over the next five years.

“The World Bank says we are likely seeing the biggest increase in global inequality and poverty since WW2.

“Countries are facing bankruptcy, with the poorest countries now spending four times more repaying debts to rich creditors than on healthcare,” he said.

He stressed that with widening inequality and 133million Nigerians suffering from multidimensional poverty, the richest people and corporations in Nigeria are unfazed and are getting richer.

For him, with over 20million children out of school, it is inappropriate to continue to give wealthy individuals and corporations tax breaks, incentives and waivers.

“With about six out of ten Nigerians lacking access to quality primary healthcare services, a situation that is worsening disease outbreaks and out-of-pocket expenditure, it is unfair for the wealth of Nigeria billionaires to grow by a third since the start of COVID-19 pandemic without a corresponding increase in health budgets.

“To have a more secure and prosperous society, Nigeria needs to purposely work to reduce inequality, generate more tax revenues from the rich, spend more on health, education, agriculture and social protection; and provide fair, inclusive, and gender-sensitive opportunities for its citizens” said Ahonsi.

Oxfam called on governments to introduce one-off solidarity wealth taxes and windfall taxes to end crisis profiteering.

It also stated that governments must especially raise taxes on capital gains, which are subject to lower tax rates than other forms of income.