By Abbas Jimoh
Abuja – Oxfam in Nigeria says three of the richest Nigerian citizens are wealthier than 83 million others put together.
This is contained in a report titled ‘Davos 2023 Inequality Report’ unveiled at a media briefing on Monday in Abuja.
Ahead of the global conference of world leaders scheduled for next week in Davos Switzerland, Country Director, Oxfam in Nigeria, Dr. Vincent Ahonsi, presented the report.
Represented by the Deputy Programmes Director and Budget Business Development Manager of the organisation, Regina Afiemo, Ahonsi presented the report alongside Executive Director, Connected Development (CODE), Mallam Hamza Lawal; Coordinator, Climate Justice Project, Oxfam in Nigeria, Kenneth Akpan, and Project Coordinator, Fiscal Accountability for Inequality Reduction, Henry Ushie.
They posited that there must be higher taxation of world’s super-rich persons to breach the inequality gap in many sectors, and that for the past decades they extraordinarily grabbed half of all new wealth, at the expenses of other citizens.
According to the report, while billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7bn daily, at least 1.7bn workers now live in countries where inflation is outpacing wages.
The report also said that a tax of up to five percent on the world’s multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7trn a year, enough to lift two billion people out of poverty.
According to the report, in Nigeria, the richest 0.003 percent Nigerians (6,355 individuals worth $5m and above) have 1.4 times more wealth than 107 million other Nigerians.
“A wealth tax of two percent on the millionaires, three percent on those with wealth above $50m and five percent on the Nigerian billionaires would raise $3.2bn annually. This would be enough to double health spending.
“Oxfam is calling for more tax on billionaires and not workers and is a message sent to world leaders ahead of the World Economic Forum, WEF, organised Davos 2023 where ‘Survival of the Richest’ is published on the opening day of the conference, while world elites are gathering in the Swiss ski resort as extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously for the first time in 25 years,” the report said.
Ahonsi on his part said, “The wealth of Nigeria billionaires has grown by a third since the start of COVID-19 pandemic. The richest men in Nigeria have more wealth than 83 million Nigerians. The three richest one per cent grabbed nearly two-thirds of all new wealth worth $42trn created since 2020, almost twice as much money as the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population.” (Daily Trust)