MINISTER of Finance, Mrs.
Kemi Adeosun, said that revenue
mobilisation is critical to the
success of Nigeria’s economic
reform agenda. She stated this
while delivering the keynote
address at the NSE-BLOOMBERG
CEO Round Table in Lagos during
the weekend.
According to her, “Government
revenue is simply just too low for
the size of our Government, the
size of the economy and the size
of the needs of the country. We see
increasing revenue as the long-term
strategic solution for sustainable
and inclusive growth. Revenue
is required in the short-term for
investments and in the medium to
long-term for our debt service. ”
“Our acceptance that our
ambitions cannot be financed by oil
revenue is an equal acceptance that
there is a finite limit to how much
can, and should be financed by
debt. If we don’t want to borrow,
we need more revenue.”
“The problem is not that our debt
service is too high but our revenue
is too low and the manner in
which the imbalance between our
debt service and revenue will be
corrected, apart from rebalancing
our borrowings in favour of longer tenure loans and external
sources, is by finally and
frontally facing the issue of
revenue.”
In her speech, she
emphasised the limitation
of relying on oil “We believe
that Nigeria is an ‘oil-plus’
economy and we should
model ourselves after
countries that have similar
profiles like Egypt with a
population of 91 Million and
490,000 barrels of oil per day
(185 people to a barrel of oil)
and has a highly diversified
revenue base.
She further argued that
Nigeria cannot model her
economy after Saudi Arabia,
with 30 million population
and 10 Million barrels of
oil per day, which implies
three people to a barrel of
oil. In Nigeria, we have a
population of close to 180
Million people and about
two million barrels of oil per
day, which amounts to 90
people to a barrel of oil. In
order to remedy the situation
the Minister advocated for
urgent diversification of the
nation’s revenue base.
“Revenue mobilisation
is critical to the success of
Nigeria’s economic reform
agenda and we are working
on strategies to drive nonoil
revenue growth; to
do this, we must amend
Nigeria’s low level of tax
compliance. A tax to GDP
ratio of just 6% is just too
low and we are working to
amend this she said”.
She recalled that on
Thursday the Ministry of
Finance, announced plans
to recruit and train 7,500
Community Tax Liaison
Officers under the N-Power
scheme. “These young
people will be subjected to
a rigorous and intensive
education on the tax system,
sales, communication skills
and civic education before
being deployed to their
communities to provide tax
education and enrol new
tax payers”, she said.
We have just 14 million tax
payers out of an estimated
69.9 Million people who
are economically active.
Nigeria is doing more with
less and we will continue to
do so. Growth is returning,
investor confidence is
reawakening and that
confidence is based on an
economic blueprint, which
if followed doggedly,
would take us from the
rough road, onto a path of
sustainable and inclusive
growth.


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