By: Peter Akindele
FROM the above facts it is clear that the United Kingdom (UK) has the revenue and already spends far more on benefits than the minimum needed to provide each person who is currently out of work with the required $1.25 a day. With approximately 47.9 per cent of the UK population in employment and a minimum wage of £5 on average,
Nigeria, like other such countries with low GDP PPP per capita, on the other hand would require a number of methods to deal with absolute poverty. Seeing as the revenue for Nigeria would not allow there to be such an extensive benefit scheme, as seen in the UK, the solution will focus on ending employment and therefore raising money for the far smaller percentage who would not be able to work. This would be done essentially by three ways:
• The enforcement of minimum wage set at approximately 196 naira ($1.25) an hour. Although this is equal to the amount needed for a day, the minimum wage has been set for an hour such that even if a person worked only one hour a day they would have the required $1.25 per day.
• Encouraging farmers to farm to sell i.e. offering financial incentives for expansion of business. This is a problem that affects not only Nigeria but many developing countries with good agricultural land. Many people farm only for themselves which not only reduces the amount that the government receives in tax but most importantly it fails to realise the opportunity for employment if farmers were encouraged to expand their business. This expansion would mean that more people would be employed and less people would then live under the $1.25 threshold. Although these financial incentives would cost the government additional money, this money could be recouped by the larger percentage of people in employment who are therefore paying income tax and raising revenue for the government. Additionally, this expansion of agriculture would lead to an increase in exported agricultural goods which would lead to further revenue for the government which could be used on a benefit system for those who could never be provided with employment.
• Furthermore corporate tax within Nigeria will be halved to 15% for companies who seek to build companies in Nigeria with Nigerian employees. From a look at the statistics it is clear that Nigeria is not making use of its most important resource: its 162,000,000 population and this is largely due to the lack of industry in Nigeria. If corporate tax was halved it would encourage many of the rich in Nigeria to build companies in Nigeria and therefore create employment. In a country that is notorious for the massive divide between the wealthy and the poor, the wealth of the “super-rich” can be used in investing in Nigeria based companies that would provide mass employment. Additionally as can be seen by the 80% graduate unemployment rate it is clear that there is a large educated workforce for these new emerging companies. The cut in corporate tax would enable these Nigeria based companies to compete with similar products that are imported. The money lost in corporate tax initially will be recouped through the increase in income tax paid by the increase in employees. Additionally the increase in the number of businesses in Nigeria will allow for the maintaining of revenue from corporate tax as even though the government would receive half of the amount it received previously, the increase in the number of companies would help to maintain the same amount of revenue from corporate tax. The lower corporate tax would also invite companies from other countries to settle in Nigeria so that they can pay lower corporate tax. Seeing as this would only apply to companies with Nigerian employees it would also lead to multinational companies employing Nigerians. Furthermore, seeing as these companies would be of a large size, the 15% corporate tax would represent a relatively large stream of revenue to the government.
By employing these three main methods, not only would it rapidly decrease unemployment but it would raise revenue, largely through the increase in income tax from all the new employees. This would allow the creation of a welfare system for those who would be unable to work such as children. The amount needed to fund this welfare system would depend on the success of these measures in increasing employment. The more successful these measures are the less would be needed for the welfare system. This welfare state however is necessary. It is impossible to create a system in which the entire population is in employment as you will always have groups such as children, the elderly and the disabled, who will be unable to work. This would also apply to any country which currently does not have a welfare system in place. Any serious attempt to eradicate absolute poverty would require a system for those who are not in work. Although this report acknowledges that this would require a considerable sum, it is believed that through the implementation of the above measures, such revenue can be raised.
In conclusion, it is evident that world poverty is a severe problem that still persists in today’s world despite the numerous advancements that have been made. In using both the UK and Nigeria, this report has made use of two different countries with very different circumstances. By making use of the UK, a highly developed country, and Nigeria, a country with 68 per cent of its population living in absolute poverty, the aim of the report is to show measures that could be employed to eradicate absolute poverty in any country. The measures suggested here are designed to be highly flexible and adaptable to the situation of any country. As mentioned above, this report believes that the best way to eradicate world poverty is to tackle it in each individual country. Any attempt to simply regularise finance on a world scale is prone to be inefficient as it would fail to make the best use of the specific advantages available in each country. Furthermore, it would be likely to overlook some of the particular challenges facing each country. The best system therefore is a close analysis of each country with a look to maximising its potential with the primary priority of eradicating absolute poverty in each country.