Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and the Emir of Kano, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, has charged the good citizens of Nigeria to continue making some sacrifices by paying their taxes to enable the country survive the sharp drop in oil revenue.
The Emir said there is need for the federal government to remove fuel subsidy we intend to make chartered headway in anti-corruption campaign.
Sanusi was the royal father of the day at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN organized 2015 Federal Government budget symposium, entitled: “Come Nigeria- The nation’s fiscal challenges and way forward for the new administration, held in Lagos recently.
He noted that government and Nigerians, need to make initial sacrifice to generate revenue, in order for the country not to remain in a vicious cycle and be able to provide education, employment and hospitals among others.
He explained that the government has to address the issue of dwindling revenue in order to be able to overcome the present economic challenges, adding that no matter how good the budget may be on paper, if the government is not good, there would always be problem.
The Emir disclosed that the country was not actually subsidising the price of petroleum products, it was only edging it, adding that the oil subsidy was structured in a way that gives a lot of room for manipulation.
”Anybody who knows Economics knows what subsidy and edging are. We don’t have subsidy, we have edge,” he added.
He wondered how the country’s gross domestic product, GDP was said to have gone up after the rebasing of the country when production did not in any way increase.
The former CBN governor added that there was need to ask why the country’s revenue is so low despite its huge GDP.
In his words, “Between 2012 and 2013, the average price of oil increased by $1 per day. Average income went up by almost $800,000. But the difference in oil revenue between those two years was $10 billion. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know there were leakages,” Sanusi stated.
He claimed that nothing was wrong with being an oil dependent country, because if properly harnessed, the oil sector could be used to spur structural change.
He elaborated that in the last five years, the government gives the NNPC 445,000 barrel per day for local refining and consumption when the country’s refineries were working and continued to do so even when they stopped working.
He faulted NNPC’s swap of crude oil, saying that the country has always been on the losing side in the deal.
Earlier on, Otunba Samuel Deru, President of ICAN stated that the ratio of recurrent to capital expenditure at 70:30 was scandalously disproportional.
”As a professional body, we strongly believe that the nation’s economy needs surgical and drastic reforms beyond cosmetic privatisation of government companies. And this should begin with plugging of all revenue leakages, revisiting and redefining of our priorities as a nation, slashing of cost of governance (e.g. by reducing Ministries, Departments and Agencies), investing more in capital goods, enforcing fiscal discipline and above all, leveraging on our huge natural and human resource endowments to reposition the nation on the path to sustained growth and development,” he suggested.