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‘They can generate more’ — reps to ‘significantly raise’ revenue target for agencies in 2024

‘They can generate more’ — reps to ‘significantly raise’ revenue target for agencies in 2024
November 22
20:22 2023

Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house of representatives, says the lower legislative chamber will raise revenue targets for government agencies.

Abbas spoke in Abuja on Wednesday at the inauguration of the special committee on crude oil theft at the national assembly.

The speaker said the country is suffering from revenue leakages from all fronts, causing the government to borrow funds to finance the budget.

“Nigeria is facing significant financial challenges due to a combination of rising expenditures and falling revenues,” he said.

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“You may recall that the proposed revenue and expenditure for 2023 stands at N9.73 trillion and N20.51 trillion, respectively.

“This means a fiscal deficit of N10.78 trillion, which is about 4.78 percent of the GDP. This deficit is the largest in Nigeria’s history, and with a budget more than double the proposed revenue, we are faced with the challenge of borrowing to cover the gap.”

Abbas said the parliament would “significantly raise” the targets for all government revenue-generating agencies to reduce government borrowings.

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“I am convinced these agencies can generate much more than they currently do,” he said.

The speaker said in the engagement with ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on the 2024-2026 MTEF, the lawmakers have made it clear that “a lot more will be required of our key revenue-generating agencies in 2024”.

“We expect them to double their total annual revenue profile. However, to achieve this, these agencies must reduce wastage and improve efficiency, especially in collection.

 “In addition to this, revenue-generating agencies must ensure transparency in the management of generated revenues.

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“Let me state clearly that the house will not tolerate low performance by agencies or failure to show evidence of required remittances to the federation account.

“We shall also closely monitor and undertake strict oversight of the activities of all revenue-generating agencies to ensure compliance.”

‘NIGERIA’S LARGEST ECONOMIC THREAT IS OIL THEFT’

The speaker said crude oil theft is the “largest threat to Nigeria’s economy” with an estimated 300,000 barrels lost per day.

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He crude oil theft has “severe consequences”, including environmental disaster, threats to regional peace and security, proliferation of arms, and poor climate investment.

“The nation is reported to incur losses of oil revenues estimated at N1.29 trillion annually due to industrial-scale theft,” he said.

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Abbas said the committee’s objective is to determine the proximate and remote causes of oil theft and recommend remedial measures to the house.

He said the inauguration of the committee shows the unwavering commitment of the parliament to protect the nation’s resources and punish the perpetrators of the “dreadful crimes”.

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Also speaking, Alhassan Doguwa, chairman of the committee, said the house is taking a “bold step” to check and tame the tide of crude oil theft.

He said oil theft and pipeline vandalisation remain persistent threats to the nation’s economy, environment and national security.

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“The urgency of addressing these challenges and bolstering our regulations, technology and security measures cannot be overstated,” he said.

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