A non-governmental organization Oxfam has identified effective taxation as well as targeted investments and empowerments in Agriculture as the key to tackling inequality and poverty in Nigeria.
Mr Iftikhar Nizami, Country Director of Oxfam in Nigeria disclosed this at a National Policy Colloquium on Inequality organized by Oxfam in Nigerian in collaboration with Huma and Environmental Development in Agriculture (HEDA).
Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. Winnie Byanyima has been the executive director of Oxfam International since 2013.
According to Oxfam, the colloquium was necessitated as Nigeria was currently among the list of 30 countries where inequality was at its worst.
He said that although Nigeria’s economy had experienced some level of growth in the last decade, the gap between the rich and the poor has howver continued to grow wider.
“To combat the high levels of inequality in Nigeria, there is an urgent need for political and business leaders to build a profoundly different economy one that puts the needs of people (particularly women and youth) first.
“Oxfam urges the evolution of economic thinking away from an all-consuming faith in GDP-measured growth, to a more human economy that recognises the well-being of all. lt is time to focus directly on reducing inequality and eliminating poverty, in ways that lead to economic prosperity for ail.
It is possible. The target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half was met five years ahead of the 2015 deadline.
A human economy makes reducing inequality and the elimination of poverty the absolute goal for economic policy making, as these are the most significant barriers to achieving sustainable, inclusive growth in Nigeria can be made possible by Federal and State Governments through economic policy, taxation policy and social spending.
A human economy approach to an industrial strategy for Africa would invest in economic activities based primarily on their ability to rapidly reduce poverty in most countries across Africa, this would mean the prioritisation of agriculture.
Nigerian government must strive to increase its tax to GDP ratio which is currently at 6 per cent. Federal and state governments should prioritise the eradication of tax evasion as over 75 per cent of Nigerian businesses do not pay tax,” he said.
He therefore urged Nigerian government to increase spending in agriculture to at least 10 per cent of the National Budget.