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Nigeria Will Surpass N13tn Revenue Remittances Recorded Last Year, Says Finance Minister

He said in January alone, over N100 billion was remitted by Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, has on Wednesday assured Nigerians that the non-oil revenue remittances by its agencies in 2024 will surpass the N13trillion it recorded in 2023.

He gave the assurance when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance chaired by Senator Sani Musa.

The committee is investigating the “Remittance of Internally Generated Revenue by MDAs and Evidence of Payment of 1 Per Cent Stamp Duty into the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account from 2020-2023.”

He said in January alone, over N100 billion was remitted by the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Edun said in the same period in 2023, only N20 billion was remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government.

He explained that remitted revenue from June to December 2023 stood at N3.6 trillion, while the total collection for the 12 months in the year was N13 trillion.

He said the government was looking forward to higher non-oil revenue output by the end of December, 2024 with the policies introduced by the present administration of President Bola Tinubu.

He said: “What we can see is a substantial increase in remittances by MDAs and revenue generation agencies. We will keep this up and there will be a time we can give further data on this to the committee and the National Assembly.”

Edun also spoke on the government’s 1 per cent stamp duty collection, saying that a total of N53 billion was remitted in 2023 or an average of N3.7 billion every month.

The minister explained that the final tally exceeded the target of N44 billion set by the National Assembly.

“This, I will say, was a positive development. N44 billion was approved by the National Assembly, and the actual collection was N53 billion”, he told the lawmakers.

Speaking briefly on capital and recurrent budget performance for 2023 and the first quarter of 2024, Edun informed the lawmakers that N2.9 trillion was the capital spending in 2023.

For 2024, he disclosed that first quarter capital releases so far stood at N124 billion, while N581 billion had been spent on salaries and other recurrent expenditure, aside from the N71 billion released for overhead costs.

When the senators asked him about the N3.7 trillion the government allegedly lost to import duty waivers in 2023, Edun corroborated the records of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

He said the current administration had introduced a new duty waiver policy to plug leakages.

The minister said this time round, all import duties would first be paid in full, while waivers would later be deducted and paid to the affected importers. He explained that paying the duties before deducting the waivers would address “the uncertainty on how the process works.”

He added that the old method of waiver application would be stopped and replaced by automation.

The minister said: “We are going to do away with the existing system. The system can be rejigged without changing the law. The law says there is a duty waiver for ‘X’ per cent, it doesn’t say whether you should take it upfront or whether you should take it ex ante.

“If you want duty waiver, pay your duty, when we have cleared that you have brought in the goods you said you would bring, you’ll get it back automatically. If you want a duty waiver, pay your duty and get it back. “We are going to do away with so many anomalies and have a seamless process. We are hoping to get the necessary approvals to implement that immediately.”

On measures to revamp the economy, Edun told the committee that the government had done a lot, including initiatives on stabilising the naira against the dollar and the implementation of a more transparent social welfare scheme for the citizenry.

For instance, he said one of the major errors of the past, which brought the economy to its knees, was the free printing of the naira for eight years up to N22.7 trillion by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari without a corresponding improvement in productive activities.

“The inflation is due largely to eight years of printing the naira, which was not matched by production,” Edun stated.

To cushion the effects of the current hardship on Nigerians, the minister said the government had restarted the cash transfer of N75,000 to 15 million households by identifying beneficiaries, using the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the National Identification Number (NIN) to reach almost 75 million Nigerians across three months.

He said the N22.7trillion printed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through Ways and Means overdraft for the Federal Government of Nigeria from 2015 to 2023, under Buhari landed Nigeria in hyperinflation.

He said during the period, printing of Naira in trillions was just carried out without matching it with productivity.

Edun also said the consequence of the eight years of printing money without productivity is the high inflation confronting the country now.

He said: “We talked about inflation, and you have helped to solve that. Where has it come from?

” It came from eight years of just printing money not matched by productivity. It’s not like when you earn dollars and you free the naira alongside it, although there’s even a better way than that. But that’s still not as bad.

“It’s not as if the money is matched by productivity increase in output. It is not. And what happened was that for eight years, the weak were left to their own devices. It is the privileged few that took everything. That’s the reality. So that money supply must be brought back.

” You distinguished senators have helped. You have given us the mandate to raise N7 trillion, which we will do by sucking money from the market, using it to pay back the central bank and give the government a balanced book. We are going to audit even the N22.7 trillion printed aimlessly, “he said.

He, however, assured the committee members that various damage mitigating economic policies being rolled out by the present government, would in no distant time, bring about great recoveries in terms of lower Inflation rate and improved GDP growth rate.

Speaking earlier, Sani said the Senate called for the investigation because unstable oil prices meant that Nigeria had to source alternative revenue windows internally to be able to provide services to the people.

“Volatility in oil prices and global economic challenges have made it necessary for us to explore our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) sources.

“The days of excessive reliance on oil are gone. So, we have to explore other internal avenues, including agriculture as well as encourage voluntary tax compliance,” he stated.

Sunday Aborisade

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