Abuja – The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has advised Nigerians to focus on non-oil revenue growth, tax compliance and budget transparency to drive economic development in the country.
Adeosun also said that Nigeria’s data gathering programme, over the past year, has now given the government the tools needed to be more aggressive at pursuing tax evaders both domestically and abroad.
The minister gave the advice on Friday during a Finance Ministers’ meeting convened by the G24 Group at the ongoing IMF/World Bank Spring meetings in Washington DC.
She discussed strategies to drive non-oil revenue growth and achieve inclusive growth in Nigeria.
“Revenue mobilisation is critical to the success of Nigeria’s economic reform agenda.
“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 per cent, 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,” she said.
Adeosun said 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.
She said 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.
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.
“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 said.
The minister, during her stay in the U.S, will also meet with the ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch to update them on progress toward economic reform objectives.
Adeosun and the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, will also meet with the World Bank Country team to discuss the status of ongoing projects in Nigeria and planned projects for 2018.
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