The federal government has admitted that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the country has not had any positive impact on the lives of its citizens.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmad blamed this on inflation while speaking at the 28th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.
“We constantly say we have witnessed seven consecutive quarter a of growth, it is the truth, but the growth has not permeated to the citizens as they are still buying food in high prices from the market so we need to look at how we can reduce the high cost of food prices. That means we need to look at how we can better handle inflation because inflation in Nigeria today.
“The highest push of inflation is the food components and the food inflation is driven largely by high cost of transportation, which is also driven by high cost of energy. So we must address that energy source by diversifying the type of energy that we use, not just generally, but for transportation and also be able to expand the transportation sector itself.”
Outlining the need for diversification in the country, Ahmed said most sectors in the country are not growing high enough as expected “except for information and technology sector that continues to grow on a consistent way.”
“Agriculture sector has been reporting growth but it has been slow, that is what we believe. We need to be able to really grow agriculture on an exponential basis and it means we have to concentrate on not only production but also processing and exporting agricultural produce to be able to earn foreign exchange.”
The Minister who also revealed that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has generated N10trn as at September, added that the government is targeting N12trn from the service for 2022.
“Last year, FIRS revenue was N6trn but as at September, its revenue is N10trn and we are looking at closing at 12trn this year. This revenue is driven by non oil sector, we have superseded the revenue targets for the sector already but the oil revenue is dragging the revenue performance behind. It is having an impact and putting stress on our debt service to revenue.
“So tax compliance must improve, tax efficiency must improve not just at the level of the FIRS but the whole of the inland revenue authorities in the state must work together to have an harmonise and single payer base so that tax payers will not dodge tax authorities by moving from one tax authority to another and not being able to identify them.”
“We have to reset the social contract worth the citizens for every Nigerians to understand that they must as a necessity to contribute to development by paying their taxes. We have a situation where there is a lacklustre attitude by tax payment despite what we have done to enhance the capacity and efficiency of tax authorities.
“So there is still more to do. There must be that spirit of pride for being a Nigerian by wanting to pay your taxes so that you can contribute to development.”