NLC decries effects of illicit financial outflows on national development
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has attributed the slow development of Africa to the illicit financial outflows and unwillingness of multinational companies to pay appropriate taxes.
Chairman of NLC Youth wing, Victor Ekpo, stated this at a two-day NLC/Human Rights and Trade Union Rights (ITUC-Africa) mass education and awareness on tax justice for young workers and youths in Abuja.
He said the programme was organised to expose the youths to the ills of illicit financial flows out of the country and the effects of the failure of companies to pay correct taxes on Nigeria’s and by extension Africa’s development.
“It is very important to enlighten the young people to know the effect of illicit financial flow on our future and what it is doing to the economy as well.
“Huge sums of money have been stolen and still being stolen through tax evasion by the multinational firms. This is the money that should be used to build infrastructure upon which development can happen,” he said.
On his part, country representative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, Dennis Zulu, said the significant proportion of financial outflows from the continent is attributed to big businesses that evade taxes and repatriate the money outside the continent.
“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.
“If big businesses do not pay the taxes due to government, there is serious cost in terms of lost in social facilities and amenities that government would be unable to built using such tax revenues accruing to the country.
“Because we don’t have capacity on the continent with respect to taxation and having weak legislations that regulate tax environment, it is very easy for the big businesses with the world’s best paid lawyers and accountants to evade taxes easily.”
Zulu noted that it was important to educate young persons on the ills of tax evasion for them to effectively lead the advocacy campaign that is urgently needed to confront the practice.
Speaking, Coordinator, ITUC-Africa, Joel Odigie, stressed the need for Nigeria to take the lead in introducing policies that would lead to jobs creation and improve social justice through social intervention programmes.