Navigating Subsidy Backlash, Taxes, and the Role of Banks in Nigeria's Economy

Feranmi Olaseinde

Feranmi Olaseinde

Aug 02, 20233 min read

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Navigating Subsidy Backlash, Taxes, and the Role of Banks in Nigeria's Economy

Introduction:

The sudden removal of petroleum subsidies in Nigeria has had a profound impact on the country's economy, both positively and negatively. While the government may see it as a relief from the burden of paying for subsidies, the inflationary trend and the unification of the foreign exchange market that follows such a policy change are not unexpected. It is crucial to learn from past mistakes and ensure that the present policy is not reversed, keeping the subsidy mafia in check. In addition to this, understanding the medium and long-term policies and effectively communicating them to the public is essential in maintaining support for the government.

The Significance of Taxes and Revenue Generation:

Contrary to popular belief, developing countries are often accused of collecting low taxes relative to total revenue due to the imposition of low tax rates on citizens. However, it is important to note that both taxes and savings are withdrawals from an economy and can have negative impacts unless they are returned as investments and subsidies, respectively. Furthermore, both taxes and savings are derivatives of income, meaning that an increase in income will result in an increase in taxes and savings collected. Hence, the focus should be on increasing income levels rather than solely increasing tax rates.

Applying Adam Smith's Canons of Taxation:

Adam Smith's canons of taxation provide guiding principles for effective tax collection. These principles include equity, certainty, convenience, and economy. Tax administrators are well-versed in these concepts and understand that excessive taxation can lead to reduced consumption, dampened production, and negative effects on output and employment. Therefore, it is crucial for tax policies to strike a balance between generating revenue and ensuring the well-being of the economy.

The Dangers of Excessive Borrowing:

Nigeria has been heavily relying on borrowing to meet its monthly obligations, which raises concerns about the country's debt sustainability. Despite cautionary reports advising against further borrowing, the government is still being enticed with loans. It is important for the government to resist new borrowing and explore alternative solutions to meet its financial needs. The unexplained position of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, in promoting new loans should be critically evaluated.

Encouraging Diaspora Remittances:

Unifying the exchange rate for the dollar is an encouraging step towards attracting more diaspora remittances. This policy change allows individuals to receive greater value and return on their investments in Nigeria. By creating an environment that facilitates remittances, the government can tap into the potential of its diaspora population and strengthen the country's economy.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize income growth: Instead of solely focusing on increasing tax rates, the government should prioritize policies that stimulate income growth. This will lead to higher taxes and savings without burdening the citizens.
  • 2. Enhance tax administration: To ensure effective tax collection, tax administrators should adhere to Adam Smith's canons of taxation. By promoting equity, certainty, convenience, and economy, tax policies can strike a balance between generating revenue and supporting economic growth.
  • 3. Explore alternative financial solutions: Rather than relying heavily on borrowing, the government should explore alternative financial solutions to meet its monthly obligations. This may involve diversifying revenue sources, reducing unnecessary expenditures, and seeking partnerships with private entities.

Conclusion:

Navigating subsidy backlash, taxes, and the role of banks in Nigeria's economy requires a comprehensive understanding of the interconnectedness of these issues. By learning from past experiences, implementing effective tax policies, resisting excessive borrowing, and encouraging diaspora remittances, the Nigerian government can promote sustainable economic growth and stability. It is crucial for policymakers to prioritize income growth and explore alternative financial solutions to ensure the country's long-term prosperity.

Resource:

  1. "Subsidy backlash, taxes and the banks", https://punchng.com/subsidy-backlash-taxes-and-the-banks/ (Glasp)
  2. "Expert: How FG can encourage more diaspora remittances | TheCable", https://www.thecable.ng/expert-how-fg-can-encourage-more-diaspora-remittances/amp (Glasp)

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