The Nigerian Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, is fed up with the sweet talk but no concrete actions. She has asked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as well as a host of other global players to label multinational tax evaders as global criminals.
Speaking at the Platform for Collaboration on Tax (PCT) Conference in New York, which rounded up over the weekend, Mrs. Adeosun called for the designation of tax malpractices by Multinational Corporations in Nigeria and other developing countries as ‘foreign corrupt practices’.
Why it matters: Multinational Corporations (MNCs) operate a completely different standard in Africa to what obtains globally. They do not pay taxes, do not respect the law and engage in corrupt practices. Facebook, Google and other tech giants for instance do not pay taxes in virtually all countries in Sub-saharan Africa even though they make millions of dollars there.
Mrs Adeosun said multinational corporations hide behind slow legislative processes to avoid doing what was right in the nations from which they derived significant income.
The Minister, who disclosed 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, she emphasised that Nigeria, under President Muhammadu Buhari, was ‘taking strong action and was determined to reverse their impact’.
“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),” she said.