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We can't tax our way to prosperity, Sanusi cautions govt

Sanusi said the taxing system must not be extortionary, adding that the government must tax growth not income.

Lamido Sanusi, the Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor [NAN]

Sanusi made this known during his speech on the economy and other issues at the 2024 Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

He noted that the government's taxing of the citizens must be sensible and not extortionary.

His remarks come amid criticisms of the President Bola Tinubu administration's imposition of new taxes and levies to ramp up internally generated revenue.

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The latest of such moves was the proposed introduction of a 0.5% cybersecurity levy on certain bank transactions.

The CBN issued a circular on May May 6, 2024, informing all deposit money banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers to deduct the levy and remit to the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF), administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

However, the levy has been suspended by the President after public condemnation that greeted the move.

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While emphasising the importance of tax and having a wider tax net, Sanusi said everything must be streamlined to guide against extortions.

Borrowing a quote from the late former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, the former CBN governor said that no country has ever taxed its way to prosperity.

He also stressed that the government must tax growth and not income.

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