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Stakeholders query mismanagement amid N52tr tax income

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Nigeria’s poor management of public fund was again on the front burner, as stakeholders yesterday decried the nation’s economic quagmire, especially the mounting debt profile and poverty amid a N52.3 trillion tax income between 2000 and 2019.

The country, a leading oil producer, is currently the poverty capital of the world, and has borrowed as much as N10.8 trillion in last one year to run government.

Its debt burden rose to $79.5 billion (N28.63 trillion) in the first quarter of 2020, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO), while nearly 40 million Nigerians have been projected by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to be unemployed by the end of this year, with 94.5 million persons already poor.

However, a “Roadmap on Nigeria’s Public Finance Management” released yesterday in Abuja by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and its international counterpart, Oxfam, which revealed that the nation also earned $1 trillion from oil in the last 20 years, singled obsolete laws and regulations as well as corruption and leakage in public procurement process for the unenviable situation.

Suggesting the way out, CISLAC’s Executive Secretary, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, canvassed inclusive public finance for the three tiers of government that conforms to an unambiguous resource mobilisation plan.

He also stressed the need for the establishment of a clear framework for the management of the extractive sector, especially through the passage and signing into law of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill as well as the other components, particularly the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill.

Querying low capacity of the public service, Principal Partner at Nextier, Patrick Okigbo, submitted that conscientious efforts must be made to tame the parlous education system, poor incentive structure, nepotism, and other forms of corruption, including the quota system that breeds mediocrity during recruitment, for the country to make progress.

To CIBN ex-chief, Prof. Segun Ajibola, election management must be prioritised to enable the people truly pick the right leaders to run the economy.

According to the Professor of Petroleum Economics and Policy Research, Omowumi Iledare, “Nigeria only appears to be wealthy, considering that the level of prosperity was personalised instead of being institutionalised.”

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