Buhari should levy a one-off windfall tax on every Nigerian billionaire and invest that money in infrastructure

Ayo Akinfe

(1) I for one am dead scared about Nigeria’s economic prospects in 2021. We are simply not going to sell the quantities of crude oil required at the needed prices for the government to afford any new capital projects

(2) With the African Development Bank pointing out that we have an annual infrastructural deficit of $100bn, I keep asking where the government is going to raise that kind of cash from. Even at the best of times, the government only invested about $10bn in infrastructure annually

(3) This year, we have a budget of about $30bn but alas, funding it is going to be an uphill task. With not enough petroleum revenue and a refusal to diversify the economy, this budget looks like a utopian pipe dream

(4) President Buhari simply has to think outside the box here. His economic policies have to be audacious and unprecedented because we are in unprecedented times. He has to come up with a way of raising at least $30bn outside conventional channels

(5) I would propose that every Nigerian billionaire is asked to pay a one-off windfall tax of N10m ($25,300). If President Buhari can get 5,000 people to cough up that kind of cash, the government will rake in N50bn ($126.5m)

(6) Now N1bn is $2.53m. Anybody who has that kind of cash will not miss a meagre $25,000. They spend more than that on weekend jamborees in Dubai

(7) Just imagine how many kilometres of road $126.5m could tar. It only costs $5.3m to build a gas-fired power plant and it costs about $12m to build a 1,000 bed general hospital. As you can see, this $126.5m would make a significant impact on the lives of millions of Nigerians

(8) There is nothing new or dramatic about one-off windfall taxes. Margaret Thatcher levied one on British banks in the 1980s and Tony Blair also imposed a similar levy on the privatised utilities when he became prime minister

(9) With Nigeria’s wealthy refusing to invest in manufacturing plants, steel works, processing facilities, etc, where is the job and wealth creation going to come from? Only Aliko Dangote is proactive in Nigeria today. For me, he is the only real industrialist the country has. My only beef with Dangote is that he does not manufacture any of his equipment locally. Over the long term, he simply needs to merge with Innocent Chukwuma to create a genuine industrial conglomerate that will be vertically integrated and set up a supply chain that sources everything it uses and sells locally

(10) Were I Nigeria’s finance minister, I would target about six key sectors that would be subject to such a windfall tax. If we can raise $1bn this way, it would make a huge difference in this post-coronavirus era