Oxfam in Nigeria announced Monday that three of the country’s richest men are richer than 83 million Nigerians.
Oxfam revealed this in a report titled “Davos Inequality Report 2023” delivered at a press conference in Abuja on Monday ahead of the global conference of world leaders scheduled for next week in Davos, Switzerland.
According to the report, the richest 0.003 percent of Nigerians (6,355 people worth $5 million or more) have 1.4 times more wealth than 107 million other Nigerians.
“A wealth tax of two percent for millionaires, three percent for those with a net worth of more than $50 million, and five percent for Nigerian billionaires would raise $3.2 billion a year. This would be enough to double health spending.
“Oxfam calls for more taxes for billionaires and not for workers and it is a message sent to world leaders before the World Economic Forum, WEF, organized in Davos 2023, where ‘Survival of the Richest’ is published on the opening day of the conference , while global elites are gathering at the Swiss ski resort as extreme wealth and extreme poverty have risen simultaneously for the first time in 25 years,” the report says.
The report also noted that a tax of up to five percent on the world’s billionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty.
Oxfam Nigeria Country Director Vincent Ahonsi, who presented the report, said the wealth of Nigerian billionaires has grown by a third since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The richest men in Nigeria have more wealth than 83 million Nigerians. The richest 1 percent grabbed nearly two-thirds of all the $42 trillion worth of new wealth created since 2020, nearly twice as much money as the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population, a new report from oxfam. Over the last decade, the rich one percent captured about half of all new wealth,” Vanguard quoted Ahonsi as saying.
He said that over five years, Nigeria spent an average of 9 percent of its income on debt service, and in 2020, before COVID, it was expected to be 29 percent or $56 billion.
This amount was equivalent to almost four times the education and social protection budgets, six times the health budget and 14 times the agricultural budget, he said.
Mr. Ahonsi noted that despite Nigeria having one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world at just 3.6% in 2019, Nigeria spent 80.6% of its revenue on debt service in 2022.
According to him, while millions of Nigerians are unsure where their next meals will come from, wealthy Nigerians are getting richer and don’t pay their fair share of taxes, instead taking advantage of the intricacies and loopholes in tax law, as well as Like the lack of transparency. and accountability in tax implementation, thus depriving the country of the income necessary for social protection and the reduction of inequality.
“With more than 20 million children out of school, it is inappropriate to continue giving exemptions, incentives and tax breaks to five wealthy individuals and corporations.
“With approximately six in 10 Nigerians lacking access to quality primary healthcare services, a situation that is worsening disease outbreaks and out-of-pocket costs, it is unfair that the wealth of Nigerian billionaires grows by one-third. since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic without a corresponding increase in health budgets,” he said.
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To close the inequality gap, he said, taxing big corporations and the super-rich remains key.
“It’s time we busted the convenient myth that tax cuts for the very rich result in their wealth somehow ‘leaking’ to everyone else. 40 years of tax cuts for the super-rich have shown that a rising tide doesn’t lift all boats, just super yachts.
“To have a more secure and prosperous society, Nigeria must deliberately work to reduce inequality, generate more tax revenue from the rich, spend more on health, education, agriculture and social protection, and provide fair, inclusive and gender-sensitive opportunities. for its citizens,” she said.
Meanwhile, Oxfam said on Monday that the world’s richest 1 percent grabbed nearly two-thirds of the $42 trillion in new wealth created since 2020.
In its new report released to coincide with the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the organization said the turnout was almost twice as much money as the amount earned by the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population.
According to the report, titled “Survival of the Richest,” the fortunes of billionaires are increasing by $2.7 billion a day, while at least 1.7 billion workers now live in countries where inflation exceeds wages.
The report noted that half of the world’s billionaires live in countries with no inheritance tax for direct descendants, putting them on track to pass on $5 trillion to their heirs, a figure that is more than gross domestic product ( GDP) of Africa.
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