The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has reported that Nigeria loses $2.9 billion annually due to tax waivers granted to multinational companies.

The was disclosed by the group’s Executive Director, Auwal Rafsanjani, on Tuesday at the Pan African Conference on Combating Illicit Financial Flow (IFFs) to Bridge the Widening Inequality Gap, according to NAN.

He stated that Africa has lost up to $1 trillion due to illicit financial flows (IFFs), out of which US$50 billion has been lost annually over the last 50 years.

What CISLAC is saying

Auwal Rafsanjani stated that in spite of the huge loss to tax waivers, the government increased value-added taxes (VAT), which affected the poor more from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent, adding that crime and tax evasion was an issue of increasing concern that reduced government revenue for financing sustainable development.

He said, “International Monetary Fund and World Bank have all expressed concerns over the likely sharp increase in inequality and poverty arising from the pandemic.

This is with estimates projecting that 42.1% of the sub-region will be pushed into extreme poverty.

“Worse yet, the World Bank further indicated that the poverty increase could take more than a decade to reverse, erasing all hopes of countries meeting their national development plan targets to reduce poverty and inequality by 2030.

“On the other hand, the wealthiest people in the region fare differently, as the three wealthiest men in the region, who are all based in Nigeria, have seen their wealth expand from US$16.8 billion in March 2020 to US$23.2 billion by July 2021.”

He also revealed that the amount lost to IFFs in Africa is roughly equivalent to all of the official development assistance (ODA) received by Africa during the same timeframe, although adding that the estimates may fall short of reality due to inaccurate data for all African countries.

The Registrar-General, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Garba Abubakar, stated that the Pandora Papers exposure proved that poverty, inequality, lack of infrastructure, and good governance have not been fully addressed.

Public Registers of Beneficial Ownership are important tools for advancing the fight against corruption, tax abuse, asset shielding, and illicit financial flows and so on.

“Registers of beneficial owners are assisting in no small measure to expose corruption orchestrated by ultimate beneficial owners who ore individuals who ultimately own, control or benefit from registered corporate entities,” Abubakar stated.

In case you missed it

Nairametrics reported last week that the Tax Appeal Tribunal, Lagos Zone, ruled that MultiChoice Nigeria has complied with the conditions for the hearing of its appeals against the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for the N1.8 trillion tax levied against it.

The Tribunal chairman, dismissed the contention of the FIRS that the said deposit made by MultiChoice amounted to non-compliance with Paragraph 15(7) of the FIRS Act.

The decision follows a Tax Appeal Tribunal’s order demanding Multichoice pays 50% of N1.8 trillion which the FIRS had determined through a forensic audit to be the tax liability owed the government by the South-African company over a 10-year period.