Nigeria’s Tax Base Has Grown 30% To 17m In 3 Years, Says Adeosun

• As FG Earmarks $322m Abacha Loot For Social Safety Nets

Photo caption: Minister of Finance and Leader of Nigerian Delegation to the 2018 IMF-World Bank Spring Meeting, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun with the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, fielding question on the tax base, among others, during a joint press briefing at 2018 IMF-World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington DC, on Sunday, April 22, 2018.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Sunday assured that the Federal Government’s Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) has started yielding results, judging by the growth in the tax base by as much as 30% since 2015.
She said the Muhammadu Buhari administration has raised the tax base from 13 million in 2015 to 17 million as at 2018, a number expected to grow further at the end of the three-month VAIDS extension to enable tax payers regularize their status.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, at the end of the 2018 International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C., Adeosun also confirmed that the administration recovered a total of US$322,515,931.83 Abacha funds from the Swiss Government.
The fund was paid into a special account in the CBN, a statement by Oluyinka Akintunde, her Special Adviser, Media & Communications said, quoting the Minister as saying it has been earmarked for the National Social Safety Nets programme of the administration. It is however unclear whether this was captured in the 2018 budget proposal now under consideration by the National Assembly.
“The objective of the National Social Safety Nets Project for Nigeria is to provide access to targeted transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded national social safety nets system,” Adeosun stated.
Meanwhile, Adeosun and Emefiele assured newsmen at the parley that Nigeria’s positive growth outlook would be sustained, even as the minister recalled that the present growth outlook contrasted with that of 2015.
She based the optimism on the consistent drop in inflation rate over the past 14 months, based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), at a time foreign reserves were on the rise.
She further expressed optimism on the administration’s sustenance of the growth trajectory, just as she called for vigilance and focus on the part of all to ensure the country does not slip back into recession.
According to her, “we are confident that if we diligently implement our economic plan, we will grow the economy. We have room to grow but other countries do not have rooms to grow.
“By 2019, the growth will be far more robust than the present level in 2018. We are therefore very optimistic in sustaining Nigeria’s economic growth. We are going to use this opportunity to grow our fiscal buffers, particularly aggressively growing our revenue base.
“The Administration has succeeded in building macroeconomic resilience for Nigeria, particularly revising the funding mix, rebuilding fiscal buffers, enhancing foreign exchange reserves and focusing on import substitution strategies,” she stressed.
Adeosun restated the administration’s determination to ensure that state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), continues to efficiently and effectively manage their costs and plug leakages.
“We must make sure that every money that is earned comes in. We will drive the process of improving governance,” she added.
On the nation’s domestic debt, the Minister stated that the government would not aggressively grow the debt, as it presently “refinancing our inherited debt portfolio from short term Treasury Bills to longer tenured debt which has resulted in huge savings and reduction in costs of funds for the Government.”
Also speaking at the event, the CBN Governor reiterated Nigeria’s positive growth outlook, noting that a growth of 2.5 per cent had been projected by the IMF and World Bank for Nigeria.
He announced that the country’s foreign reserves had risen to US$47.93bn, in realization of the “need to save for the raining day. If we had enough reserves, we wouldn’t have suffered the recession shocks” in 2015, he recalled.
He assured that concerted efforts were ongoing to realise the 80% target for financial inclusion by 2020.