The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has emphasised the need for government to increase non-oil revenue generation.
He made this known on Tuesday in Abuja when President Muhammadu Buhari presented
the proposed N8.612 Trillion 2018 budget before a Joint Session of the National Assembly. Saraki said that as the country gradually recovered from recession, it was important to reset the fundamentals that drove the economy so that it would not slide back into recession. He added that “we must reassess the relationship between oil and our economy. Oil prices are gradually inching up, but that is no reason for complacency in our diversification drive. “We must grow our economy away from oil and increase attention to other sources
of revenue generation.” He also stressed the need for emphasis on tax collection, saying other independent revenues from state-owned enterprises must be taken seriously. “If the budget is to be funded, we cannot afford to turn blind eye to revenue under-performance.
“While there is need to review extant laws guiding the operation of some government enterprises, I would call for more determined effort on the part of the executive, to block leakages.
“This sector alone accounts for over N40 trillion in valuation, of which less than N400 billion is remitted as revenue to Consolidated Federation Account. This is not acceptable. We need to vigorously address this area,” Saraki said.
The president of the senate commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Economic Management Team, lawmakers, well as Nigerians, for working together to make the necessary sacrifices to get the economy out of recession.
He added that “`without doubt, this recovery benefitted from greater policy coordination, prioritisation and passage of economic reform bills, but more importantly, the resilience of the Nigerian people.”
He furthers said that the implementation of the 2018 budget and how it was implemented would be a defining element of the present administration.
“We must therefore continue to work together to steady the ship of this recovery.”
“Further to the area of increasing independent revenue, there is need to review agreements that government signed with some private sector service providers.
“Many of these agreements are biased, and clearly not in the interest of the country.
“We appreciate the need to spend, but we must ensure that our borrowing is targeted at productive projects that will stimulate the economy.
“We must also ensure real value-for-money in projects funded by borrowing and ensure that the projects are not overpriced.”
Saraki called for the submission of the 2018 budget to ensure consistency in government’s economic programmes and tax policies.
He said“ this bill, which should clearly detail the imposition, alteration or regulation of taxes such as the proposed tax on luxury items and excise taxes, among others, will put the financial proposals of government into effect.” (NAN)