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Nigeria, others can earn $2.52trn with taxes from 5% of global billionaires

Oxfam International has urged governments at all levels to impose what it called a ‘billionaire wealth tax’ so as to reduce the global inequalities rates…

Oxfam International has urged governments at all levels to impose what it called a ‘billionaire wealth tax’ so as to reduce the global inequalities rates on the continent.

Spokesperson for Oxfam Nigeria, Rita Abiodun, said in Abuja on Tuesday that the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has practically grown the wealth of persons and companies in the food, pharma, energy, and tech sectors, but also left millions of people in severe cost-of-living crisis due to the rapidly rising costs of essentials, including food and energy.

According to her, introducing one-off solidarity taxes on billionaires’ pandemic windfalls will help fund and support people facing rising food and energy costs as well as create a fair and sustainable recovery from COVID-19.

Her comment was coming on the heels of the ongoing World Economic Forum’s (WEFs) annual face-to-face meeting in Davos, Switzerland which began on Monday.

“For every new billionaire created during the pandemic, one every 30 hours; nearly a million people could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2022 at nearly the same rate,” the report titled ‘Profiting from Pain’ said in parts.

On her part, Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said, “Billionaires are arriving in Davos to celebrate an incredible surge in their fortunes. The pandemic and now the steep increases in food and energy prices have simply put, been a bonanza for them.

“Meanwhile, decades of progress on extreme poverty are now in reverse and millions of people are facing impossible rises in the cost of simply staying alive.”

The report said that 573 people became new billionaires during the pandemic, at the rate of one every 30 hours and that it is expected that this year alone 263 million more people will crash into extreme poverty, at a rate of a million people every 33 hours.

It said, “Billionaires’ wealth has risen more in the first 24 months of COVID-19 than in 23 years combined. The total wealth of the world’s billionaires is now equivalent to 13.9 per cent of global GDP. This is a three-fold increase (up from 4.4 percent) in 2000.

“Billionaires’ fortunes have not increased because they are now smarter or working harder. Workers are working harder, for less pay and in worse conditions. The super-rich have rigged the system with impunity for decades and they are now reaping the benefits.

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