2022 budget: Reps task FG on repair of existing, new refineries

• Decry high cost of gas unaffordable

Concerned members of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, beckoned on Federal Government to repair the nation’s refineries with a view to reduce the high cost of energy and gas for Nigerian citizens.

The lawmakers, who spoke during the debate on the general principles of the 2022 Appropriation bill on the floor of the House, also tasked the present administration on how best to improve non-oil revenue by way of widening the tax net to capture income earners in the informal sector.

In his presentation, Chairman, House Committee on Commerce, Hon. Femi Fakeye who applauded the collaboration between the Executive and Legislative arms of government towards resetting the button to the January-December budget cycle harped on the need to ensure proper timing for the budget implementation of the budget, and utilisation of borrowed funds in the bid to boost the economy.

Hon Fakeye said: “I know it’s easy to talk, it’s more difficult to implement. But I’ll like the Executive if they are able to borrow to implement the budget for a year, they should be borrowing January, February, March than borrowing or try to arrange the borrowing in the third or fourth quarter of the year for which we want to implement. That is one point I want to make because I’m aware right now as we said here maybe two quarterly releases have been made, and now we are in the last quarter of the year. That makes a joke of all the efforts that we put in day in day out to ensure that the budget is passed in time,” he noted.

While speaking on the non-oil revenue generation, Hon. Fakeye said: “And I pay attention to revenue shortfall for the government, and I begin to ask myself and I recall when I was young, everybody pays tax every month; whether you’re a farmer or you’re a carpenter, whatever you do for a living the pay tax.

“Now we have decided to forgiven everybody their taxation, except those who have an income where the tax is taking out of your income and the rest is paid to you. I think our tax reform should be such that every Nigerian has a chance to contribute. Go out there and talk to 80 per cent maybe 89, 90 per cent of the people of Nigeria even all of them that are self-employed, they don’t pay tax anymore.

“So when we hear FIRS or the State tax organisation even the joint tax board discuss widening the tax net, why do they shy away from finding a way to make people pay, whether you’re a carpenter, you’re a taxi driver, you’re selling rice in the market.

“These people make a lot of money but they don’t get to pay anything. I think that’s an area I will like to see revenue boosted.

Now the country of Nigeria is gifted by the Lord with a lot of natural resources, notably oil and gas, but the same country now is going through a transition that if we are not careful might be too difficult to handle in the next 5 to 10 years.”

He observed that major countries that buy oil and gas products are currently transmitting to alternative energy for cars and household fittings, which may force the demand for fossil fuels to go down.

“Why is it that today, for ages now, our refineries are still dockyard, are not functionable? We are flaring gas and then importing gas. In this year, the cost of gas to the household has been more than double,” noting that people have reverted to the use of charcoal due to the unaffordable price of gas.”

In his contribution, Hon Ahmed Munir who expressed worry over the gas flaring in the nation called for the effective harness of flared gas for wealth creation, environmental safety and expansion in the oil industry.

He also called for the creation of external revenue service to coordinate savings and taxes for proper implementation for Nigerians, as well as proper domestication of projects and proper spread for true national development.

On his part, Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Hon. Ahmed Jaha stated that the standard measure of scaling budgets is the public expenditure to GDP ratio and the 2022 budget proposal scores high in this ratio.

While stressing the need for proper utilization of the borrowed funds, the lawmaker expressed concern over releases especially for road construction and called for sustained and timely releases, adding that MDAs should ensure effective implementation of funds released in line with the Appropriations Act.

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2022 budget: Reps task FG on repair of existing, new refineries

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