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Revenue focus will not burden Nigerians —Adeosun

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government’s drive for enhanced revenue generation would not be a burden to Nigerians.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day National Revenue Retreat 2016 in Kano, on Thursday, Adeosun said government was firmly committed to turning this economy around by mobilising capital for investment in the essential infrastructure which will drive our economic growth.

The retreat titled “Enhancing Revenue Generation for Sustainable National Development”; according to the Minister was a very important gathering, which came up at a pivotal period in our nation’s economic history.

She said the revenue focus will not burden Nigerians but will ensure that all revenue due to Nigeria’s government, irrespective of the source, is collected with a high degree of efficiency, fully receipted and properly accounted for.

Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, had in his speech disclosed that the state government had identified about 106 dormant revenue lines which it was working assiduously to activate.

However, Adeosun, in her remarks, said the Federal Government has also identified over 1000 dormant revenue lines, assuring however, that such huge dormant revenue opportunities will be maximised.

According to her, “The focus of this conference is on non-oil revenue generation. The role of most of us, represented here, in oil revenue generation is minimal.

“Oil represents only 13% of GDP but contributes over 70% of government revenue. This cannot continue and as we move toward exploiting our solid minerals and agricultural endowments we must build robust revenue platforms to ensure that we take full advantage of the value opportunities.

“We must begin to see revenue maximisation as ‘The Business of Government’ that is government operating commercially where required and this will require a new mind-set. Optimisation of revenue generation requires targets, incentives and penalties as part of the performance management framework. Thus in some cases partnership and risk sharing with private sector operators must and will be considered.”

“The ease of doing business has been cited as one of the key drivers of economic growth and Nigeria has already set targets for improvement in this regard. Accordingly, in our drive for revenue we must look for opportunities for co operations and synergy through the three tiers of government.

“Nigeria can and must improve its revenue collection efforts. Our revenue to GDP ratio is far lower than that of our peers. Nigeria’s Tax to GDP is only 6% versus 26% in South Africa and 21% in Tunisia. This is actually good news as it reflects the opportunity for growth.”

The Minister charged participants “to take away concrete actions that you will begin to implement from Monday as part of the rebuilding of our public finances.

Irrespective of your area of core responsibility, you must take full ownership of the need to maximise the revenue potential in your organisations, Treat government business as an enterprise to be operated with best practice and with the type of results that Nigeria needs and deserves at this critical time.”