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Adeosun assures G24 on transparent implementation of budget


Nigeria’s finance minister Kemi Adeosun PHOTO: NAN

The federal government yesterday assured the global community of its commitment to the ongoing reforms aimed at redeeming the country’s economy through transparency, accountability and faithful implementation of budgets.

Head of the Nigerian delegation and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun told the Group of 24 (G24) Economies’ meeting in Washington DC that government was focused on resetting the Nigerian economy.

Specifically, it would address its over-reliance on oil revenues and establish the basis for the creation of sustainable non-oil revenue and growth.

She stressed that government was determined to make the difference in the economy, restore trust and accountability in governance with strong and faithful budget implementation and transparency.

Adeosun called for collaborative support for the country, saying that just like some countries in the G24 have done successfully, “we are going to focus on tax in 2017 through an asset and income declaration scheme to address our low tax revenue collection and ensure improved compliance, a broader tax base and more sustainable revenue. This is fundamental to delivering on our reform plans.”

She added that while the government was focused on raising revenues and bringing people into the tax system, it would equally pursue an aggressive 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 remain a core focus for us,” she said.

She told participants and global investors that there were huge opportunities in the country even as she briefed ratings agencies- Moody’s and Fitch on the progress towards reforms, investable projects for 2018 and the country’s improving economic indices.

“While the infrastructure that we build to facilitate power and transportation is vital to our economic growth, we are equally focused on addressing the challenges of service delivery to our people.

“Water quality and nutrition are fundamental to quality of life but also deliver economic benefits. We must do more to improve living standards for our people and so addressing food security, water and nutrition are central to our reform agenda.

“This isn’t just about economics but the basic responsibilities of government. We need to redouble our efforts and show people that their tax revenues can deliver real change in their daily lives,” she added.

Earlier, the Director of Fiscal Affairs at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Vitor Gaspar, who lauded the country’s economic plan, said he had the privilege of visiting Nigeria and was very happy to understand that its fiscal and tax policies were part of its development strategies.

Assistant Director of Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF, Catherine Patillo, while lauding government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Programme (ERGP), added: “This is necessary for diversification and in building revenues, particularly oil revenue. So, we very much welcome the ERGP. As you are aware, Nigeria went into recession last year, but now there have been forecasts on recovery, although still very fragile.

“The need to address the fiscal situation is urgent. Our recommendation is for the continued fiscal consolidation. One striking statistics, I think, is the fact that over the past years, the ratio of interest payment to tax revenue has doubled to 66 per cent in Nigeria,” she said.

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