Taxing Nigerians In Diaspora To Improve Nigeria’s Revenue Base

Taxing Nigerians In Diaspora To Improve Nigeria’s Revenue Base

The innovators are back – and Nigeria has the finest in the world when it comes to finding how to collect money from its citizens and companies: stamp duty on electronic transfer, multiple levies, etc. Yes, when it comes to taxes, fines, levies, etc, Nigeria is innovating just fine. What we have struggled with is how to boost the economy with growth policies. 

Now, the latest conversation is to tax Nigerians in diasporas. I must confess that it is not a bad idea provided the money would not be managed by politicians. I prefer we channel the tax money to venture funds, private equity funds or investing ecosystems to build a new economic architecture of Nigeria. Of course, if you do it that way, it is no more a tax since politicians will not be deciding how the funds are used! 

Nonetheless, if they have a tax treaty where other governments would recognize the Nigerian diaspora tax, to avoid double taxation, it is a slam dunk. Simply, instead of sending $1,000 to the American government as tax, you can send $100 to Nigeria and keep $900 in the US. The payer cannot and should not pay more than $1,000 to avoid double taxation. If you do not make it that way, it would be challenging to expect the diasporas to respond.

Yet, I expect Nigeria to have a remittance tax since taxing diasporas via the typical tax legal ordinance has no chance. Government can simply have a regulation: if you send $1,000 from the US to Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria will keep 3% of that money as a remittance tax. 

Yes, once we are done with pension funds, then dividends & dormant account balances, and finish selling some campuses (other assets like power, etc are already gone), there would be nothing left. The only remaining option then would be remittance taxation. So, Nigeria will tax remittance but via a different protocol within this decade unless something changes in our economic system.

Simply, we cannot use 60% of our revenue to service debts and expect to have a future as a nation.

In 2014, the ratio was about 28%; then it rose close to 80% during the recession and now we are at 60%. When 2020 data comes out, it may be close to 90% considering that revenue was severely affected during the lockdown.

debt service ratio
Nigeria data



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6 thoughts on “Taxing Nigerians In Diaspora To Improve Nigeria’s Revenue Base

  1. The people managing the affairs of the Nigerian State have reached both their intellectual and physical limits, it’s a mistake to expect them to more than they have been doing all along. They were never configured to understand, let alone manage the economic turbulence Nigeria faces, the only problem is that they still think they can perform.

    If they are not borrowing to do capital projects that have no prospects of generating returns, then they are preoccupied with ways to squeeze out more milk from already malnourished cows, the only thing they don’t know how to do? How to fatten the cows!

    It takes a lot of bravery to be a Nigerian, because it’s common here to have plenty funny creatures telling you how they intend to better your life. Those who cannot differentiate propaganda from governance are posturing as leaders, it’s both pitiful and nauseating.

    The ones in charge are inept and confused, the ones positioning to takeover from them are bereft of ideas, with no known capability; so it’s a quandary.

    Over 200 million homo sapiens, yet see what we are parading as leaders and managers. It is finished!

  2. politicians' conscience · Edit

    Nigeria is a shame of a country. The money stolen by Deziani and many current and previous officeholders is enough to turn the economy around. These band of thieves want to tax Diasporans? It is simple; people will give up their Nigerian passports and get a visa to visit Nigeria. They should stop stealing in office instead of asking for taxes to line their private pockets. Mafia government!

  3. Within Nigeria systems needs to be developed so that all business owners (both small and large scale)pay their taxes. A system should be generated that will allow these business owner be their taxes directly ro their state government and federal government. You will be surprised at how much revenue the road side business woman/man generates in a day. The bus drivers and taxi drivers should also not be left out of this. In 20 minutes I have seen a boli(roasted plantain)seller make nothing less than N5,000
    00 and a bus driver about N3000.00 in 30 minutes. Within Nigeria alone enough revenie can be generated from taxes paid by every working citizen.

  4. We can lay Nigeria on an operating table and get the ailment that is bothering it, resolved, yes, I am for taxing diasporians. If and only if, it is used well. But (forgive me english scholars) managing those funds well for intended purposes are short of mirage based on a miracle. It is impossible. I dont see it happening so I will save my money and manage the challenges that are set before me when I get there, customs and police officers, family and friends..utilities and agberos…


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