It was apparent that everyone sitted in the Acacia Room of the Ladi Kwali Hall in Sheraton Hotels & Towers, Abuja were interested in the reason for the event – Nigeria had lost 3.3 billion dollars from tax holidays given to the NLNG consortium made up of Shell, Total, Eni and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC].
How did this oil rich nation lose so much from tax, when 70% of all its previous budgets were financed from the profits of crude export?
Honourable Herman Hembe, representing Vandeikya/Konshisha federal constituency, Benue State noted that with the global crises arising from falling oil prices, it was time that executive and national assembly revisited policies and laws that granted corporate bodies tax exemptions in Nigeria
In her welcome address, Ms. Ojobo Atuluku, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria pointed out that tax incentives in developing countries was costing 138 billion dollars yearly. Citing the current research undertaken by the organisation, Nigeria’s current loss of 3.3 billion dollars was equivalent to twice the national education budget and thrice the healthcare budget in 2015.
More statistics shared showed that 10 million children were not schooling and 15 out of 100 children die before turning 5; the leakages in the system could have been put to better use to uplift the citizenry.
She challenged the federal government of Nigeria on the current tax culture and calling for collaboration of the country with other countries to end harmful regional tax completion.
The launch of the report also featured a panel discussion between ActionAid Nigeria, government officials in the Federal Revenue Inland Service [FIRS] and staff from the Ministry of Finance.
You can Download the Report here