Designate tax evasion as corrupt practices, Adeosun tells World Bank, IMF

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has admonished the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations (UN) to label tax malpractices by multinational corporations in Nigeria and other developing countries as ‘foreign corrupt practices’.

The minister made the suggestion at a Platform for Collaboration on Tax (PCT) conference in New Adeosun explained that Nigeria was doubly affected by illicit financial flows as a result of corruption and tax evasion

She requested global organisations such as the OECD, World Bank, IMF atax avoidance actions of multinational companies as corrupt practices.

“There is absolute need for a complete understanding of how these Multinational Corporations (MNCs) behave in Nigeria and developing countries; many operate a completely different standard in Africa to what obtains globally,” Adeosun said.

She lamented the capability of defaulting MNCs to hide behind slow legislative processes to avoid doing what was right in the nations from which they derived significant income.The minister, who stated that options to sue such companies in their own countries were being explored, said that the designation of tax crime as foreign corrupt practices would support such efforts.

On the wider issue of Illicit Financial Flows (IFF), she emphasised that Nigeria, under President Muhammadu Buhari, was “taking strong action and was determined to reverse their impact.”

The government, according to Adeosun, is taking a number of measures internally and also taking full advantage of international initiatives to tackle the problem.

She said: “Internal measures include 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 (VAIDS).”

The minister further stated that the Federal Government would use every available avenue to improve its revenue generation and tax collection and credited the UN with putting the issue of IFF at the forefront of the fight against corruption.

She referred to the Thabo Mbeki report that found that IFFs from Africa exceeded the volume of foreign aid into Africa, adding that Nigeria was found to be the most adversely affected.

“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,” Adeosun remarked.

Adeosun lauded the recent initiative by the United Kingdom Government with Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) and requested that more countries adopt such measures.

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