Dear Dr. (Mrs) Okonjo-Iweala And Prof Soludo

That you both have a passion for Nigeria is evident from your public service records. This passion is responsible for your public spat as you both care deeply about the destiny of the country and wish the nation well. I thank you very much for your public service. Please set aside your differences, close ranks, and let bygones be bygones.

Please work with me to raise the consciousness of our people and the government on the need to replace the corruption-laden-oil with income taxation for the budget. Please join me in championing the replacement of oil revenues with income tax for the government budget.

The premise and purpose of income taxation:
1. It is the right thing to do. It will end the exploitation of the oil producing states by the other states and the federal government which is the root of corruption in Nigeria.

2. It will empower and motivate tax-paying Nigerians to be more pro-actively involved in governance since taxes they pay are their investment for procuring services from the government. Any involvement of the people is a good thing as many heads are better than one, and will produce better outcomes for all.

3. The involvement of the people will also strengthen the institutions of government as people run these institutions.

4. Taxation will provide more substantial revenues to the government than oil.

5. It will enable the rich to give back to society some of their wealth.

6. It will enable a redistribution of wealth and put money in the hands of millions of more people who will be able to buy goods and services boosting the aggregate demand and the economy.

7. It will provide the funds for nationwide investments in human, security, and physical infrastructures which will enhance socio-economic growth and national unity.

8. It will promote accountability and transparency. It will reduce corruption since the bulk of the taxes will be paid by the rich who will not allow their investments in society to be embezzled.

9. It is a global best practice.
10. He who pays the piper dictates the tune. When people pay taxes, they will insist on getting the services that they want from the government and the politicians.

As you are well aware, Nigerians are strong critics of governments that they do not fund, exclusively or nearly so, with their income taxes. This state of affairs is unimaginable in advanced nations of the world where taxation is the means by which government is funded and services provided to the people. Is it any wonder why these nations are advanced and Nigeria is not?

The total income of Nigerians worldwide in 2014 was about $1 trillion US dollars. However, the contribution from this huge amount to the budget of the federal and state governments was negligible. Our politicians were essentially obsessed with only about $60 billion dollars from oil sales!

Imagine a budget funded from progressive income taxes in the range of 0% for low income people to up to 60% for Nigerian naira millionaires, multi-millionaires, billionaires, and trillionaires. Imagine also a progressive income taxation of Diaspora Nigerians from 0% to 5%, a narrower and smaller range because of the high taxes that they pay in their host countries. Up to $250 billion US dollars or up to N50 trillion naira would have been raised in 2014 for the total budgets of the federal and state governments instead of about N8 trillion naira from oil.

Imagine a growing annual budget of this magnitude put to good use under the scrutiny and oversight of the Nigerian people:

The promise of income taxation:
1. Robust investments in human, security, and physical infrastructures and in other areas of comparable advantage.

2. World-class infrastructures linking states and rural and urban areas which will spread opportunities and development nationwide.

3. The attraction of more local and foreign investors.

4. Full employment and improved security.
5. Socio-economic development, the entrenchment of democracy, the rule of law, and national unity!

In conclusion, please join me in this effort that could be a game changer for the nation. Irrespective of who wins the presidential elections, I cannot imagine socio-economic development in Nigeria without income-taxation as the principal tool for government funding. Income taxation is a global best practice that must be adopted for socio-economic development to take place in Nigeria, a win-win outcome for both the rich and the poor.

Thank you very much.
Abitunde Taiwo

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Articles by Abitunde Taiwo