Minister of Finance, Wale Edun has said the streamlining and expansion of the tax net is paramount in achieving the government’s revenue goals.
Edun spoke on Monday at the opening ceremony of a four-day retreat organised for members of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Edun, represented by Okokon Udo, permanent secretary, finance, special duties, said “achieving tax revenue to gross domestic product (GDP) target of 22 percent and tax to GDP of 18 percent by 2026 are parts of the cardinal objectives of this administration”.
”However, in doing that, we appreciate the need not to overburden the taxpayers by introducing so many new taxes,” he said.
“What is necessary to be done is to broaden the tax base, simplify and streamline tax administration for ease of collection.
“Among the prior activities of this government after coming into office, was the constitution of a presidential committee of fiscal policy and tax reforms.
“The committee has submitted an interim report which is full of optimism.”
Speaking on the removal of petrol subsidy and its impact on revenue, the minister said the government had for long realised that it was not sustainable.
Since removing the subsidy, Edun said the federation account has witnessed an “improved revenue inflow from an average of N650 million to N1 trillion in the last four months”.
He said the subsidy regime eroded revenues that should have been available to fund viable expenditures that were critical to the well-being of the populace.
According to the minister, the present administration was mindful of the needs and welfare of Nigerians and assured that it would continue to implement people-oriented policies.
Edun said the present administration was not oblivious of the untold hardship faced by Nigerians, following the removal of fuel subsidy, and harmonisation of exchange rates.
He reassured all the sacrifices made by Nigerians would not be in vain.
“Government is bent on ensuring that the economy bounces back to normal as we continue to consolidate on recovery efforts while focusing on achieving inclusive economic growth and development,” he said.
Edun said President Bola Tinubu-led administration has so far put in place well-structured palliative measures to cushion the economic consequences of the ongoing reforms.
In his remarks, Sheriff Oborevwori, governor of Delta, tasked the federal government to muster the political will by putting the necessary policy and institutional framework in place to diversify the nation’s economy.
The governor, represented by Monday Onyeme, deputy governor of the state, said there was no magic wand to diversify the nation’s economy from over-dependence on revenue from crude oil unless concerted efforts were made in other key sectors.
He said Nigeria needs to take concrete steps in diversifying the country’s economy for the expansion of the revenue base.
Oborevwori also said the country had not properly managed its oil wealth.
He said it was worrisome the oil sector contributed between five percent and seven percent of the nation’s GDP.
Oborevwori urged the committee to look into the payment of 13 percent derivation to oil-producing states.