UI Hosts International Conference on Tax Havens
The Centre for General Studies in collaboration with the Office of International Programmes, University of Ibadan, organised an International Conference from Wednesday, 2 to Friday, 4 August 2017 at the University of Ibadan. The conference with the theme Tax Havens and the Developing World: The Global Dimension was declared open by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Emilolorun Ayelari.
While delivering the welcome address, the Chair of the Board of the Centre for General Studies (GSP), Professor Aduke Adebayo, noted that the theme of the conference is consistent with the mandate of the Centre and important for repositioning Nigeria’s economy by facilitating revenue generation through taxes and enhancing living standards. The Director of GSP, Professor Olutayo C. Adesina in his address stated that the conference is aimed at highlighting the importance of taxes to developing countries. According to him, developing countries lose triple amount of taxes that they gain annually to tax haven, hence the need to critically look at the issue of these havens.
The Director of the Office of International Programmes (OIP), Professor Adebola B. Ekanola in his address, stated that the implications of tax havens are many and very grave, and they lead to a vicious cycle of tax evasion and poor tax base. Thus, to undermine the problem of corruption and enhance economic growth and social development in developing countries, a close analysis of the issue of tax havens cannot be overemphasized. In this regard, according to Professor Ekanola, the existence of tax havens should be of interest to all countries in the developing world.
The Royal Father of the Day, His Royal Highness, Emir Muhammed Sanusi II (CON). Sarkin Kano, represented by Alhaji Shehu Sakiru Mohammed, in his remarks, identified minimum tax liability, secrecy, lack of transparency and easy entry and exit as four main reasons why tax havens exist. According to him, individuals and multinational corporations move their investments to tax havens to avoid tax. He stated that the negative effect of tax havens in developed countries is limited to loss of revenue while the developing countries lose both revenue and capital (money). His Royal Highness therefore emphasized the need for the conference to aim at proffering solutions to the effects of tax havens to benefit Nigeria, Africa and the entire world.
Two keynote addresses were delivered during the conference. The first on Tax Havens: Issues of International Tax Evasion and Avoidance – A Global Perspective was delivered by Professor A. H. Ekpo, Director General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Nigeria. He was represented by Professor Douglason G. Omotor of WAIFEM. The address stressed that tax havens encourage all forms of fraud through both tax evasion and avoidance.
The second keynote address on Tax Havens and the New International Morality was delivered by Professor Bayo Okunade, Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan. Professor Okunade was represented by Dr. Dhikrullah Yagboyaju of the Department of Political Science, UI. The keynote address focused on the effects of tax havens in the light of the Judiciary and the judicial process in developing countries. The speaker highlighted key areas for discussion at the conference and advocated the need to have a plan of action in addressing the menace of tax havens.
The event was attended by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research Innovation and Strategic Partnerships); Professor Olanike Adeyemo, the University Librarian; Dr. Helen Komolafe, the Registrar, Mr. Olujimi Olukoya who was represented by the Deputy Registrar (Vice Chancellor’s Office); Mr. V.A. A. Adegoroye and the Former Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan; Professor Chinedum Babalola. About 120 participants including presenters from institutions in India and Republic of Benin attended the event.