Buhari floats Cabinet Committee on additional revenues to fund 2017 Budget
Posted by News Express | 19 December 2016 | 2,011 times
President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a Cabinet Committee to come up with innovative and creative ways to raise additional revenues from the oil sector, and other sectors of the economy in order to support the funding of the 2017 Budget. The report of the Committee will be ready in time for the National Assembly to take this into account in considering the Budget in the New Year, when they return from their Christmas recess.
While presenting details of the 2017 Budget in Abuja on Monday, Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning, said that government was determined to bring succour to the people.
He stated: “The only way we can do this is by taking strong action to change, in a fundamental way, the current trajectory of the Nigerian economy. This is not the time for a timid and cautious approach. This is a time for bold and focussed action. To get out of this recession and get back on the path of growth, government must find the resources to spend on infrastructure, and to spend to reflate the economy. This spending will help to stimulate and attract private sector capital and private sector spending. This is what the 2017 Budget proposals seek to do.
“We should not allow ourselves to be discouraged by those who say we can't find the money to fund the spending required to implement this budget. We must, and we can, find the resources. We will challenge our revenue generating agencies, particularly the FIRS and Customs to improve their efficiencies and broaden their reach so as to achieve the targets set for them in the 2017 Budget. They must be tasked to leverage technology to drive revenue collection. We will be issuing new guidelines and templates for computing the operating surpluses of the various government agencies so that we can achieve the targets we have set for independent revenues.
“Most importantly, we must maximise the revenues we can generate from the oil and gas sector. We cannot determine the price of crude oil but we can engage more extensively with the communities and people of the Niger Delta to minimise disruptions to oil production.
“Finally, our experience this year shows clearly that we have not just a revenue problem, but specifically, a foreign exchange problem. We must find ways of solving our foreign exchange shortages. 95% of our foreign exchange comes from the oil sector so the work we are doing on improving the level of our oil sector receipts will certainly help. However, we need to do more than this.
“We must reduce the demand for foreign exchange by producing as much as possible of what we need in Nigeria. From refined petroleum products to textiles, clothing and most of our food items. But we will continue to need imported items so we must increase the supply of foreign exchange by tweaking some of our policies to make them more investor friendly, and by creating the right incentives for non-oil exports. Ultimately, the sustained growth of our economy must be on the back of an export led revival. The proposals in the 2017 Budget are aimed at creating the right incentives for Nigerians to achieve all these. The 2017 Budget proposals are therefore also a call to action.
“These are difficult times, no doubt. But with the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian we can turn these difficulties into opportunities. It is to that indomitable spirit that this Government now appeals. I am confident that Nigerians will respond to this call to action. To truly revive this economy, we must turn Nigeria into a nation of producers.”