Post Views: 783 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday lamented that the Federal Government’s revenues are quite low for the size of Nigeria’s econ...
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday lamented that the Federal Government’s revenues are quite low for the size of Nigeria’s economy, just as it is inadequate to fully meet related societal demands.
Worse still, Osinbajo said in a speech at the graduation ceremony of the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State, the nation’s total tax collection at just 6% of Gross Domestic Product, is far below the African average of 17%.
It was in its bid to correct the anomaly, he continued, that the Muhammadu Buhari administration stated taking all necessary steps to increase government revenues through such measures as the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), excise taxes and improved collection of taxes.
As part of plans to significantly grow government’s tax revenue Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had on Thursday, in a report to the National Economic Council (NEC), said a list of about 500 Nigerians with property and trusts abroad and who are believed to have under-declared their assets, has been obtained to determine their tax compliance status at home.
She urged such persons to take advantage of the Voluntary Assets & Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS, to settle past taxation defaults, adding that letters would soon be dispatched to such persons, including a number of prominent ones “asking them to take advantage of the tax amnesty in order to avoid prosecution and fines by simply paying up their tax defaults. The amnesty is available till March next year.”
Mrs. Adeosun put Federal Government’s revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) at N89bn, the highest so far in the country in a single month in October 2017, and that the Federal Government is targeting N120bn on a monthly basis in the coming years.
The Vice President had further noted at Saturday’s event government’s resolve to “ensure better management of its resources, through cost efficiencies, automated payroll systems and leveraging of its assets to ensure better returns.”
This, he added, informed the administration’s “decision to reduce Federal Government holdings in Joint Venture operations… By this means, we will not only be raising revenues to help fund Federal and State budgets, we will in addition also be improving governance in the oil and gas sector.”
Related to this, he continued, is the determination to check “substantial under-remittance to the Federal Government by its parastatals and agencies and we will be putting a stop to this using the results of a forensic audit being undertaken as well as greater scrutiny and oversight by the Economic Management Team.”
A case in point, he added, is the Joint Administration and Matriculation Board.
At its meeting on Wednesday, the NEC, chaired by the Vice President, received the report of the committee chaired by Hassan Dankwambo (Governor of Gombe State), which revealed huge under-remittances by government agencies like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), among others, between 2010 and April 2015.
“The economic focus and direction of the Buhari administration is set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan – the ERGP. The plan is based on a set of principles, broad principles, and certain key action points including eliminating corruption in government procurement and processes, prudent management of resources, social inclusion, overcoming constraints such as power, petrol and skills shortages, promotion of the private sector, and use of the market mechanism where possible.
We have worked hard to keep faith with these crucial principles. In particular we are committed to ensuring that Nigeria does not return to the years of corruption and waste, where people at the highest levels of government simply converted to private use, funds and public resources meant for the building of public infrastructure and the provision of services,” Osinbajo added.