Nigeria is a poor country with a potential of becoming rich – Chairman of Presidential Tax Committee

Friday, June 28, 2024 
-Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, has described Nigeria as a poor country with significant potential for wealth. 

 During an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Oyedele pointed out that both the Federal Government's and states' budgets are relatively small when compared to those of some other countries and cities.

 The Federal Government has faced criticism for what some perceive as over-taxation, with recent tax law protests in Kenya reigniting these discussions among Nigerians. However, Oyedele dismissed the idea of introducing more taxes as a solution to Nigeria’s revenue challenges. He emphasized that increasing taxes would not effectively address the country’s financial issues.

He said; 

“By the way, the entire budget, that’s the Federal Government’s of about N29 trillion plus all the states in Nigeria about N15 trillion – if you add it all, it comes to about N44 trillion. That’s around $30 billion. 

“That $30 billion is even less than the budget of Kenya which is around $32 billion. It is barely a quarter of South Africa’s budget at $130 billion. And of course, it’s even less than the budget of New York City, not even just New York State. So, clearly, Nigeria is a poor country with the potential to be a wealthy country.

“So, we do believe based on the analysis we have done and the data available to us that the right way to go is not to introduce more taxes. And in fact, if you’re going to raise the rates of any tax, it has to be something that we’re doing as a result of the consolidation and harmonisation.

“We do think that having fewer taxes are broad-based, easy to collect, and do not place a burden on the bottom of the ladder of society is the way to go. And by using data, intelligence, and technology, we can close the tax gap so that people who have not been paying before begin to pay – who have been identified as people who should be paying – and the poor people should be legitimately exempted, particularly nano, micro businesses and low-income earners.

“And then we think that with all those, we can easily more than double our revenue within a period of two to three years.”

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