‘We’ll turn the heat on MDAs’ — Lawan says agencies must improve revenue generation performance

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the upper legislative chamber will turn the heat on various revenue generating agencies for adequate revenue to fund implementation of the N21.83 trillion 2023 budget.

 

The federal government has proposed to borrow to finance the N11.34 trillion 2023 budget deficit.

 

Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari had also said the country’s poor performance in resource mobilisation was a source of concern, as “tax revenues are approximately 8 percent of our output”.

 

Speaking to journalists on Thursday in Abuja at his 64th birthday celebration, Lawan said the government cannot continue to borrow on a yearly basis to fund the budget because it was unsustainable.

 

Proffering ideas on how borrowing could be drastically reduced, he said the upper chamber would, before its dissolution, engage the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the government on ways to improve their revenue generation duties.

 

“In looking inward, the senate and by extension, the national assembly will turn the heat on various revenue generating agencies through relevant committees for optimal performance as far as revenue generation is concerned,” Lawan explained.

 

”The committees, through oversight functions, will ensure that each of the revenue generating agency, remit every kobo generated into the national coffers.”

 

Lawan also said the government would review the processes of granting corporate tax holidays, import duty waivers and concessions to investors and businesses.

 

He explained that most of the waivers and concessions needed to be reviewed to generate more money into government coffers and minimise borrowing.

 

“Enormous revenue being lost through tax waivers will also be looked into in terms of reviewing the policy or calling for its revocation,” Lawan said.

 

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

 

 “We can’t continue with that. So, for us at the senate we have decided that for the remaining part, we will continue to engage revenue generating agencies until we get better outcomes from them.

 

“We will review the waivers. Where the waivers cannot be sustained anymore, such waivers should be reversed or renegotiated, but definitely we need to work hard to improve revenue generation of the nation by the MDAS and other government agencies.”

 

The senate president added that Nigeria had no reason to be poor to the scaring level of having 133 million of her citizens living below the poverty level as recently declared by the National Bureau of Statistics.

 

“Incidentally, the poorest states are in the zone naturally gifted with N33tn worth livestock farming but refused to be supported by government over the decades by categorising it as an individual business,” he said.

 

According to Lawan, if the federal government diversifies into areas like livestock, which has N33 trillion potential investment, the disturbing poverty level will change to prosperity.

 

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