Zainab Ahmed

The federal government has decried Nigeria’s weak revenue generation profile which it said was hindering ability to operate the national budget.

The Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance on Media and Communications, Mr Paul Ella Abechi, said the finance minister was unhappy with the country’s poor revenue generation drive.

According to Abechi the Minister acknowledges and points out the challenge of revenue generation by the country.

“What we have is revenue problem and when revenues perform at the aggregate rate of 55 per cent it hinders the ability to operate our budget. So it hinders our ability to service all categories of expenditures including salaries, allowances, capitals as well as debts.”

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, was said to be clarifying Nigeria’s debt and GDP position which were major issues at the just concluded World Bank IMF Spring meeting in the USA.

Ahmed made it known that the Ministry was not resting on its oars with regards to boosting the nation’s revenue.

“What we are doing at the Ministry of Finance is concentrating and enhancing our revenue and collection capacities.”

The finance minister was however happy that Nigeria’s borrowing still remains at 19 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“In the borrowing, we are still at 19 per cent to GDP, our borrowing is still low. What is allowed by our Fiscal Responsibility Act is the maximum of 25 per cent of our GDP compared to other countries like; Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Angola and Brazil and we are the lowest in terms of borrowing.”

With regards to the alleged planned removal of subsidy, the finance minister was quoted to have said that the “difference on the issue of subsidy as compared to previous regimes where subsidy was paid to marketers, but this time around.

“NNPC is the sole importer of petroleum products, and so when they import, they deduct that cost of business before they remit the little money to the federation account. So that is completely different.”

She also added that “It is more cost effective, it is cheaper and what is being done now is easier to monitor.”

The Minister also maintained and assured Nigerians that there is no intention of subsidy removal as government has not come up with any plan in that direction.

“We are not there yet and we discuss this periodically under the Economic Management Team, but we have not found a formula that works for Nigeria and you know Nigeria is unique because what works in Ghana may not work here. So it is still work in progress and so there is no intention to remove fuel subsidy at this time.”

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