2 February 2018

Nigeria: Actionaid Calls for an Overhaul of the Tax System

Abuja — The ActionAid Nigeria, has called for an overhaul of the tax system to provide the funding needed for education at an international conference on Thursday.

The development agency in a statement yesterday, noted that its demands are based on a new report entitled; "A Taxing business: Scaling-up domestic resources for financing SDG 4".

According to the Secretary General of ActionAid International, Mr. Adriano Campolina, the report highlights that developing countries will never get the money they need for education when tax revenues remain so low.

This, Campolina stated, will keep these countries and their citizens in a perpetual cycle of poverty.

He called on The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference, taking place in Dakar, February 1-2, to focus on getting adequate education funding is directly linked to tax justice.

He said: "Developing countries are giving away $138 billion every year in what the IMF call 'harmful tax incentives'. If 20 per cent of that lost revenue was spent on education, we could make actual progress in getting every child into school.

"Financing from aid plays a role but it is short term and unpredictable to finance quality public services like education".

While speaking on the impact of tax on education, the Interim Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ms. Funmilayo Oyefusi said: "Take Nigeria's scenario - a country with over 10.5 million children not in school.

"According to UNICEF, this number accounts for the highest in the world today, yet the country gives over N500 billion a year away in tax breaks, 50% per cent of that amount would be more than enough to give every one of those children an education and would enable the government of Nigeria to employ 100,000 more teachers."

To this end, Oyefusi also issued a call for all big businesses who want to make a contribution to education to take a first step by putting their tax affairs in order, paying their fair share of tax in each country in which they operate.

She said ActionAid has been campaigning for tax justice for a decade and the charity's global campaign "TaxPower" has been active since 2011.

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