Civil Society Organizations within Nigeria have tasked President Bola Tinubu with the responsibility of formulating policies that can drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country.
During a press conference held in Abuja, Mr. Adesina Oke, a representative of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and the spokesperson for various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), made this announcement.
According to Oke, the event titled “The Masses and the Economic Challenges: Finding Solutions” was inspired by a collaborative communique released following a roundtable discussion organized by the collective of CSOs.
He explained that the primary goal was to urge Nigerians, both at home and abroad, along with supportive individuals within the global community, to join forces in shaping an economic path for the incoming government, given the current economic challenges.
- “Nigeria has a huge debt burden. Currently, the bulk of its retained revenue is devoted to debt servicing.
- “In 2021, about 90.0 percent of Nigeria’s retained revenue amounting to about N4.221 trillion out of N4.64 trillion was spent on servicing its debt.
- “It is projected that this might rise further to as much as 101.5 percent and 121 percent of its revenue in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
- “Public and publicly guaranteed debts are now more than 40 percent of the GDP and could reach 46 percent by the end of 2023,” he said.
Digitalization of Tax Collection
Regarding eradicating poverty in the country, Oke pointed out that it was essential for government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to expeditiously roll out sector-specific initiatives to address the mounting poverty challenges across the nation.
Accordingly, he said there was a need to introduce appropriate technology to ensure that all payments of Value Added Tax, especially at the retail end, were automatically swept into the coffers of the government while reconciliations would come either monthly or quarterly
In his opinion, the government needs to broaden the tax base while keeping tax rates steady. Addressing revenue leaks and attracting high-net-worth individuals into the tax framework should also be pursued.
- “Our applicable tax incentive frameworks should provide for relevant agencies to: carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the potential impact of incentives before granting them.
- “Provide established annual milestones on tax expenditure implementation and conduct periodic assessments, measurements, and evaluation of tax expenditure milestones and impact on the economy among others.
- “Annual budgets are accompanied by a tax expenditure statement that details the above analysis.
- “Ensure mandatory use of a Treasury Single Account (TSA) for all Government owned enterprises’ financial transactions.”
What FG is Saying
In an earlier address yesterday, President Tinubu reiterated his commitment to ending poverty in the country, saying that he sees no reason why the nation should be poor.
Furthermore, he said Nigerians are hardworking people, and he is determined to make sure that Nigeria becomes a better country than it is today.
- “I will work hard for our nation with purpose, determination, and dedication to create wealth for all Nigerians. We have no reason to be poor! We will not look back, we will run aggressively forward.”
- “Today, we may be swimming against the tide. But the waves will soon propel us forward from behind. We will achieve the goals and dreams of our forefathers. I am inspired by the nation of people I now lead.”
Continuing, he said he is prepared to pilot the affair of the country into a new dawn, and there is no room for excuses in his administration.
- “I am the Captain and Chief Salesman of the country. We have to reverse the trend and achieve possibilities within a short period,
- “Our people have high expectations for us. I pledge to work hard, and I pray to God to put me on the right path, not to disappoint Nigerians.”
What You Should Know
According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria has 40.1% of people living in poverty. In addition, the national monetary poverty line shows that 63% are multidimensionally poor according to the National MPI 2022.
However, Tinubu has taken policy initiatives to tackle poverty since the emergence of his administration.
Policies such as the removal of subsidies as well as the liberalization of the FX are reported to have structural effects on the economy in the long term and move many Nigerians out of poverty.