Working Paper 188

This paper gives preliminary insights into the challenges surrounding the taxation of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in Nigeria – first in general terms, and then with a specific focus on Borno State. The need to diversify revenue sources has become increasingly apparent against the backdrop of Nigeria’s historical reliance on the export of crude oil, and is the reason why President Tinubu created a committee to harmonise the fiscal system. However, the committee has not yet touched upon the taxation of HNWIs.

Drawing from key informant interviews from north-eastern Nigeria, and a two-day workshop with officials from State Boards of Internal Revenue Service from various part of the country, we shed light on the complexities of increasing the compliance of HNWIs. The study highlights a series of legal, administrative, and political obstacles faced by State Boards of Internal Revenue Service, which have developed dedicated compliance strategies. Many of these are similar across states that otherwise share few characteristics. The paper ends with some tentative suggestions for future research.


Giovanni Occhiali

Dr Giovanni Occhiali is a Development Economist based at the Institute of Development Studies, where he works on a number of projects related to Tax Administration and Compliance, Tax and Governance and co-leads ICTD’s capacity building programme together with Dr Max Gallien. His research focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, and outside of the field of taxation his main interests are energy economics and industrial policies. He holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham and prior to joining ICTD, he was a Researcher at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and an Overseas Development Institute Fellow at the National Revenue Authority of Sierra Leone.

Jalia Kangave

Jalia Kangave holds a PhD in Law from the University of British Columbia, and has over decade of experience in the fields of taxation, law, and international development. She previously served as the Principal of the East African School of Taxation in Uganda, worked as a tax consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers Uganda, and was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies. Dr Kangave is the lead consultant for the International Centre for Tax and Development’s research programme on gender and taxation.

Hamza Ahmed Khan

Hamza Ahmed Khan is doing his PhD at the University of Toronto, focusing on the politics of taxing the wealthy in post-colonial states. At the International Centre for Tax and Development, he is the focal point for Taxation of the Wealthy.