…kicks against indiscriminate tax exemptions

Senate President Ahmad Lawan revealed that the Upper Legislative House will lobby various revenue generating agencies for adequate revenue to finance the implementation of the N21.83tn 2023 budget.

Lawan unveiled this in Abuja during his 64th birthday celebration, where he stressed that it would no longer be business as usual for the various revenue-generating agencies in the country, as the government would no longer be able to borrow to finance the budget.

He also pointed out that in addition to the problem of insecurity that the government was fighting head-on at various levels, the lack of sufficient revenue for the execution of national development programs is another challenge that must be seriously addressed if the budget deficit cycle or incessant lending must be stopped.

The Senate president said the measure became imperative due to leaks and gaps in tax collection and remittances to the government amid low revenue and the country’s high debt profile.

Lawan said: “The government cannot continue to borrow annually because it is not sustainable. We have to look inward and generate more money to carry out flagship projects and finance infrastructure.

“Looking inward, the Senate, and by extension the National Assembly, will shift the pressure on various revenue generating agencies through relevant committees for optimal performance when it comes to revenue generation.

“The committees through oversight functions will ensure that each of the revenue-generating agencies remits every kobo generated to the national coffers.”

He also added that the government will review the processes for granting corporate tax exemptions, import duty exemptions, and concessions to investors and companies in the Federal Government.

He stressed that most exemptions and concessions needed to be reviewed to bring more money into government coffers and minimize borrowing.

He noted: “The huge revenue that is lost through tax breaks will also be looked at in terms of revising the policy or requesting its repeal.

“Most of what we do in terms of national development is in health, insecurity at the borders. I think we have to work hard to improve revenue generation and collection because it doesn’t seem very sustainable that we tolerate people, some government agencies to misapply or not even declare the revenue they collect.

“We can’t go on with that. So for us in the Senate, we have decided that for the remaining part, we will continue to engage the revenue generating agencies until we get better results from them.

“We will review the waivers, where the waivers can no longer be sustained, those waivers should be reversed or renegotiated, but we definitely need to work hard to improve the nation’s revenue generation by MDAS and other government agencies,” he added.

He added that Nigeria had no reason to be poor at the frightening level of having 133 million of its citizens living below the poverty level as recently declared by the Office for National Statistics.

“By the way, the poorest states in the area are naturally endowed with N33tn for ranching, but they refused to be supported by the government for decades by classifying it as an individual business,” he said.

He postulated that if the Federal Government diversifies in areas such as livestock, which has a potential investment of N33 billion, the worrying level of poverty will change for prosperity.

Lawan said: “Some critics are always quick to criticize the idea of ​​cattle development, some of them said that it is a private business, but there is nothing more private than someone who sets up a bank, kills the bank and transfers the liabilities to the Nigerians through AMCON. .

“AMCON today has around six trillion naira of toxic loans on our head,” he added.