ActionAid Nigeria has canvassed the need for an overhaul of the nation’s tax system to provide the funding needed for education at all levels.
The NGO made this call at The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference, which held in Dakar, Senegal from last Thursday through Friday.
A statement by the organization indicated that its call for overhaul of the tax system was based on a new report titled ‘A Taxing Business: Scaling-Up Domestic Resources For Financing SDG 4.
The report highlights that developing countries will never get the money they need for education when tax revenues remain so low, keeping these countries and their citizens in a perpetual cycle of poverty.
Commenting on the latest report, Secretary General of ActionAid International, Adriano Campolina, says that getting adequate education funding is directly linked to tax justice.
He said: “Developing countries are giving away $138 billion every year in what the IMF call ‘harmful tax incentives’. If 20 per cent of that lost revenue was spent on education, we could make actual progress in getting every child into school.
“Financing from aid plays a role but it is too short term and unpredictable to finance quality public services like education”, Campolina added.
Speaking on the impact of tax on education, Funmilayo Oyefusi, Interim Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria said: “Take Nigeria’s scenario – a country with over 10.5 million children not in school, according to UNICEF, this number accounts for the highest in the world today, yet the country gives over N500 billion a year away in tax breaks, 50% per cent of that amount would be more than enough to give every one of those children an education and would enable the government of Nigeria to employ 100,000 more teachers.”
In addition to the demand for tax reform, ActionAid also issued a call for all big businesses who want to make a contribution to education to take a first step by putting their tax affairs in order, paying their fair share of tax in each country in which they operate.
It would be recalled that ActionAid has been campaigning for tax justice for a decade and the charity’s global campaign “TaxPower” has been active since 2011.
ActionAid Nigeria is a national non-governmental, non-partisan, non-religious, civil society organisation and an affiliate member of the ActionAid International Federation with presence in 45 countries.
The NGO works in solidarity with people living in poverty and exclusion to achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication towards achieving a just, equitable and sustainable world.