Payment of tax in a country has been described as a major and reliable source of steady income and availability of domestic revenues, with government and other concerned authorities urged to embrace this initiative.
According to experts and stakeholders, with the tax revenue generated through full payments and elimination of tax avoidance and tax evasion,, government could settle public services such as education, health, security, infrastructure and pay salaries.
The calls formed the crux of a recent movie screening of ‘The Price we Pay’, an event organised by ActionAid, which took place at Silverbird Cinemas, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Director Harold Crooks blew the lid off the world of corporate malfeasance with the incendiary film about the dark history and present day reality of big-business tax avoidance, which has seen multinationals depriving government of trillions of dollar in tax revenues by harbouring profit in offshore havens.
According to the experts, tax havens, originally created by London bankers in the 50s, has today put over half the world’s stock of money beyond the reach of public treasuries.
“Nigeria is a large economy but corruption, tax havens, crime rate and poverty remain contentious issues as part of the price we pay. However, many governments have given away their tax right to bring development to multinational corporations, companies and others in the form of corporate tax incentives in order to attract investment in the country. Without inadequate tax payment, countries are dependent”, they noted.
To Mr. Tunde Aremu of ActionAid, “Corruption has eaten deep into the system and Nigeria which is among the ten fastest growing economy in the world has a high degree of poverty. Part of the price we pay is the 10 million children who are out of school and the high rate of crime and indecency in the country.
Innocent Nwabodo suggested that making the system open and talking about tax to the people is the best way to highlight the importance of tax as a viable source of revenue in Nigeria.
Aremu said, “People say corruption is not avoidable which makes corruption a problem to tackle, but it goes beyond that. Illicit financial flow is also there and corruption accounts for just 3 per cent of the financial flow in Africa. Other criminal activities like drugs, trafficking and kidnap account for 43 per cent, while tax avoidance is 65 per cent.
ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to achieve greater human rights for all and defeat poverty and believe people in poverty have the power within them to create change for themselves, families, and communities.