Nigeria to focus on non-oil revenue growth in 2017-Adeosun

Hauwa Noroh Ali, Washington

The Nigerian Government says revenue mobilisation is critical to the success of Nigeria’s economic reform agenda.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs  Kemi Adeosun, stated this at a meeting convened by the G24 Group with  Finance Ministers  at the ongoing IMF/World  bank to discuss strategies to drive non-oil revenue growth and achieve inclusive growth.

Speaking after the meetings, the Minister said that the country had an unacceptably low level of non-oil revenue, and much of that is driven by a failure to collect tax revenues.

 “With a tax to GDP ratio of only 6%, one of the lowest levels in the world, we have a lot of work to do if we are going to build a sustainable revenue base that will deliver inclusive growth. Our data gathering programme over the last year has now given us the tools we need to be more aggressive at pursuing tax avoiders, both domestically and abroad’’ she said .

She added that Nigeria like some of its contemporaries in the G24 will focus on tax in 2017 through an asset and income declaration scheme to address the low tax revenue collection and ensure improved compliance, a broader tax base and more sustainable revenue. This is fundamental to delivering on the country’s reform plans.

Speaking earlier at the G24, the Minister also highlighted the need for strong budget implementation and transparency to create trust and accountability in government:

“While we focus on raising revenue’s and bringing people into the tax system, we must be equally aggressive in our approach to budget implementation and transparency. Our people must know where their hard earned tax contributions are being spent and the impact that they are having on national development, and the daily lives of citizens. This will be a core focus for us.”

The Minister also met with the ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch to update them on progress towards economic reform objectives, and met with the World Bank Country team to discuss the status of on-going projects in Nigeria, and the pipeline of projects for 2018.

The Minister will be attending meetings on Closing the financing gap for water, affordable housing finance food security and nutrition over the coming days as part of the government’s focus on sustainable solutions to some of Nigeria’s most pressing social challenges.

“While the infrastructure that we build to facilitate power and transportation is vital to our economic growth, we are equally focused on addressing the challenges we face to deliver services to our people. Water quality and nutrition are fundamental to quality of life, but also deliver economic benefits. We must do more to improve living standards for our people and so addressing food security, water and nutrition are central to our reform agenda. This isn’t just about economics, these are the basic responsibilities of government, we need to redouble our efforts and show people that their tax revenue can deliver real change in their daily lives.”