Last week, the Federal Inland Revenue Service [FIRS] announced that it generated N3.81 trillion as revenue in nine months, already surpassing its provisional annual budget estimate of N3.6trillion. With this multi-sector garnering of the peoples’ wealth, with oil taxes recording N2.399 trillion and N1.406 trillion for non-oil, and our great nation clearly benefitting from a robust revenue generation drive, The All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] is worried that the Nigerian people may not feel the impact of this fiscal leap in their socio-economic life.
Each year, we are faced with increasing rate of government borrowing which affects the growth of the economy as resources are mopped up by the government, stifling the operating environment for private investors. According to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as of June this year, Nigeria’s debt profile stood at 44 million dollar, with domestic debt accounting for 38 billion of the total. The same Chamber also lamented that the country’s debt profile was not sustainable considering that current debt service is about 20 percent of total revenue of the government.
Our great party believes that at this time our revenue generation is evidently healthier than before, it is the duty of the Federal Government to focus on balancing the nation’s rising domestic debt profile with the existing and expected surpluses in the nation’s internally generated revenue in order to ease the pressure on the budget. But more importantly, to free the economic environment for entrepreneurs to be able to borrow in order to create jobs. Experts have maintained that government is borrowing at a high cost of between 14 – 16 per cent which is one of the highest globally.
The ANPP therefore calls on the government to exercise fiscal discipline and manage our growing revenue prudently. Our nation cannot afford to squander its wealth at this time, but must save for the rainy day. Other nations who are not even blessed with oil survive only on tax. Moreover, the Nigerian people, whose monies have been gathered together by the FIRS has the right to know whether it has been used to set up a wealth-generating environment for them and their children to prosper. As a party, we believe that a prosperous nation can only be engendered by an accountable, transparent and prudent leadership.
Hon Emma Eneukwu
National Publicity Secretary