The Pro Vice-Chancellor who is also the Executive Dean of the University of West England, Bristol, United Kingdom, Prof. Paul Olomolaiye, has said that the taxation system in Nigeria should be reviewed in a way that employed graduates and non-graduates would pay taxes in different forms.
The professor of Construction Engineering made this observation on Thursday during a public lecture tagged, ‘The Economics of Publication in Nigeria’ organised by the Department of Economics at the University of Lagos, Akoka.
He said it would be rather imbalanced for employed non-graduates to pay tax that would be used to improve and develop universities which they never had the opportunity to attend. Olomolaiye suggested that it will be equitable for graduates to pay a two to three per cent additional tax that would be used in developing universities, which he said would be a way of giving back to the system.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor added that there was need for students to be granted loans as being practiced in developed countries.
“ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) protested against the government for seven months last year after fighting that the percentage of the GDP being spent on higher education is simply too small and is crippling public universities.
“I agree with all of this, but I think the simple fact is that the current funding system is fundamentally flawed as it has no provision that those benefiting from being graduates are really paying back their dues and not cheating the 80 per cent of the population who did not attend higher institutions and are paying for what we have all benefitted from through taxes.
“Those who have benefitted should put something back for the university education financial equilibrium to be maintained.
“My guess is that there will be a 200 per cent difference in the earnings of Nigerian graduates and non-graduates. A two to three per cent graduate tax will raise significant sums for the Nigerian university sector and ensure that a carpenter’s tax is not used to fund public universities in which not only has he not benefitted from but has possibly been severely disadvantaged,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof Rahmon Bello, also speaking at the event said the need to develop a good education system in the country is paramount.
“There is an urgent need to develop an effective and efficient public education system that will push out the best results in our graduates of secondary and tertiary institutions with respect to skill acquisition, communication skill, creativity and entrepreneurship thereby launching Nigeria into the 21st century,” he said.
Prof. Ndubuisi Nwokoma, the Head of the Department of Economics in the school pointed out that there was a relationship between economy and the quality of education, saying if the government and the university could revisit the issue of funding, the standard of education would certainly advance.