President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina has condemned a situation where Nigerians do not enjoy basic infrastructure that should be provided by government despite paying taxes.
Speaking at the first national tax dialogue organized by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Adesina said Nigerians are among top implicit tax payers in the world. Implicit taxes are levies that are borne but are neither seen nor recorded.
He said residents provide their own electricity, road, security, water, among others, adding that the government must rise to its duty rather than allowing citizens bear such burdens.
“We must also distinguish between nominal taxes and implicit taxes — Taxes that are borne but are not seen nor recorded. Truth be told, Nigerians pay one of the highest implicit tax rates in the world — way higher than developed countries,” he said.
“Think of it: they provide electricity for themselves via generators; they repair roads to their neighbourhoods, if they can afford to; there are no social security systems; they provide security for their own safety; and they provide boreholes for drinking water with their own monies. That in incredulous in itself. Boreholes are not the way to provide water in the 21st century. Every household should have pipe borne water!
“Take for example that 86% of small and medium sized enterprises in Nigeria spend $14 billion annually on diesel for generators. Nigeria’s companies lose on average 10% of sales because they do not have access to reliable and affordable electricity.
“Governments, over time, have simply transferred their responsibility to citizens. When governments or institutions fail to provide basic services, the people bear the burden — a heavy implicit tax on the population.”