David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.
The federal government acknowledged that in the first quarter of 2016 they failed to reach their revenue target by over 45%! The Nigerian economy has been in a free fall since the collapse of the price of oil to under $50 a barrel. The bulk of government revenue historically has come from oil. Since the collapse in oil, the Nigerian government has sought to shore-up its revenue generating agencies, and enhance tax compliance. In addition, they have sought to level electricity tariffs, stamp taxes on bank deposits, and potentially telecommunications taxes. Noticeably missing from all of this is a single measure to require Nigeria’s wealthy elite to pay any extra to help the nation in its time of need. During the years of high oil prices, Nigeria’s elite made the country one of the top destinations for private jets and luxury products from all over the world. The number of multimillionaires shot up dramatically, and the country became host to Africa’s largest set of private-sector billionaires.
The elitist APC, since taking office, has sought to increase the tax burden on average Nigerians considerably, most notably with the electricity. However, despite the nation’s economy in complete free fall, the elitist Buhari administration has set up a wall of protection around Nigeria’s elite, requiring them to pay nothing extra. Many of these elite are currently hoarding foreign currency in domiciliary accounts in Nigeria, further, many of them moved large amounts of money out of money out of the country before the current government took power. Many of them, like President Buhari himself and his Vice President, own residences in London and in other high-brow communities in Dubai, New York, and elsewhere in the world, with properties under their names or under the names of close relatives. It is a known fact that many of these Nigerian elites, that live and due the overwhelming majority of their business in Nigeria, pay more taxes to the British Crown, than they do to the Nigerian nation. Despite this, the elitist Buhari APC regime, continues to provide excellent security with military, navy, and police to protect the Nigerian elite in their communities without requiring these same people to contribute anything extra to the nation that has made them wealthy and is providing them security and safety in their communities.
NIGERIA’S ECONOMY WILL COLLAPSE
Nigeria has reached a critical stage, since it floated its currency, the economy has shed value and has reduced in size drastically. The floating currency has done absolutely nothing to encourage international investment, and the currency has continued to plummet. Within one year, on this current trajectory, the Nigerian economy will collapse. The country cannot afford to allow the sun to set on 2016 without requiring Nigeria’s wealthy and elite to pay higher tax receipts in-line with what they would be required to pay anywhere else in the world. They receive massive protection from the state and other benefits from the state to live securely in their communities and compounds, fly their jets, and cruise around in their luxury cars and yachts. Over the years, this protection has been provided free of cost, subsidized by the Nigerian people who do not receive anywhere near the level of protection that Nigerian economic and political elite receive in their communities. Needless to say, with the country on the verge of collapse, this dynamic is completely unfair. If Nigeria were a democracy and the APC a legitimate party, they would have moved swiftly to rectify this imbalance by now. However, after being in power for over a year, they have done nothing. Instead they have been robbing the poor seeking to increase their tax burden and force them to pay more to subsidize Nigeria’s elite class even more than they already have.
Kuranga and Associates Limited is an investment management advisory firm and an asset manager with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2016 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Kuranga & Associates Limited