The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, says Nigeria needs to focus on aggressive tax revenue generation to drive economic growth.
A statement signed by Festus Akanbi, Mrs. Adeosun’s media aide, said the minister gave the advice during a Finance Ministers ’ meeting convened by the G 24 Group at the ongoing IMF/ World Bank Spring meetings in Washington DC.
According to the statement, the minister also advised Nigeria to focus on non-oil revenue growth , and budget transparency, adding that revenue mobilisation is key to national growth.
“Revenue mobilisation is critical to the success of Nigeria ’ s economic reform agenda,” the minister said.
“We have 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 six percent , 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 past year, has now given us the tools we need to be more aggressive at pursuing tax evaders both domestically and abroad, ” Mrs. Adeosun added.
The minister, the statement said, noted that Nigeria ’s strategy to improve tax in 2017 was through an asset income declaration scheme to address low tax revenue collection and ensure improved compliance, adding that the strategy would lead to a broader tax base and more sustainable revenue for all tiers of government.
“This is fundamental to delivering on our reform plans,” she said.
The statement also disclosed that Mrs. Adeosun also highlighted the need for strong budget implementation and transparency to create trust and accountability in government.
“While we focus on raising revenue and bringing people into the tax system, we must be equally aggressive in our approach to budget implementation and transparency,” the minister said.
“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,” she added.
Mr. Akanbi said 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 projects for 2018.
Similarly, “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,” he added.