International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC)-Africa have advocated strong legislation on tax-justice and illicit financial flow out of Nigeria and other African countries.
Country Director of ILO in Nigeria, Dennis Zulu and the Coordinator, Human and Trade Union Rights ITUC-Africa, Comrade Joel Odigie, who made a case for strong legislation, attributed illicit financial flow to big business who avoids taxes.
“The significant proportion of financial outflow from the continent is attributed to big businesses that avoid taxes and take these monies out of the continent.
“Following the Thabo Mbeki panel report which outlined the different initiatives that can stop the bleeding, it is very important, therefore, that we educate our young workers through the NLC so that they can understand what is really involved and the opportunity cost of this illicit financial flow.
“It is very clear that if people don’t pay the tax that is due to the big businesses, then there is serious cost in term of the lost social facilities and amenities to be built, using the tax revenue accrued to the country,” he said.
The ILO country representative said this was very common in countries, such as African countries that depend on exports from the developed countries.
He regretted that African countries “do not have capacity in terms of taxation, and with weak legislation that regulate tax environment,” saying “it is very easy for the big businesses with the world’s well-paid lawyers and accountants to sit and be able to navigate and avoid paying taxes.”
“So, it is important to educate our young workers so that they can be in the forefront, through having the prerequisite knowledge to be able to advocate or lobby government to stop the bleeding of financial resources out of the continent.
“For Nigerians, a significant proportion of the illicit outflow is attributed to corruption; and for us, the development partners, it is gratifying to know that the new government has taken serious measure to curtail the outflow of financial resources from Nigeria.”