Nigeria Moves against Multinational Tax Evaders

Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has asked the international community to cooperate in enforcing tougher sanctions against Multinationals involved in tax evasion and unlawful monetary outflows from the country.

Kemi Adeosun, while speaking on Monday at the Platform for Collaboration on Tax Conference (PCT) in New York, emphasized the “need to classify” multinationals tax malpractices in developing countries “as corrupt practice.”

“The Nigerian government is taking responsibility for preventing illicit flows but the range of measures used and the sheer volumes are such that the recipient nations must also take measures to discourage the flows into their countries by asking more questions,” she demanded.

Multinational corporations operate with a “different standard” in Nigeria and Africa at large compared to “what obtains globally”, according to the Finance Minister, who noted that the Nigerian government is exploring options to sanction such companies in their home countries.

The minister noted that “tightening financial controls and surveillance, adoption of the National Tax Policy with its commitment to regular revisions of tax laws, and the ongoing tax amnesty programme, the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme” are internal measures that have been taken by the Nigerian government.

According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at  the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting last year, noted that Nigeria lost about $178 billion to illicit financial flows in the last decade.  Years of illicit financial flows has contributed to the country’s low tax to GDP ratio of 6%, one of the lowest in the world.

Consequently, Nigeria plans to increase revenue generation to boost its oil-dependent economy, by expanding the tax net, implementing tax policies, enhancing the effectiveness of revenue collection agencies and improving tax compliance.

With a focus to identify key directions for tax policy and administration needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries, the PCT is an initiative of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank Group, International Monetary Funds and the United Nations, to design and implement standards for international tax matters, strengthen ability to provide capacity-building support to developing countries, and help deliver jointly developed guidance.