Next level agenda: Experts fashion strategy for reducing revenue leakage

Posted by News Express | 2 December 2019 | 1,116 times

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Stakeholders from different walks of life who converged on Abuja recently have called for the appointment of trustworthy, down-to-earth and persons with requisite merit to man government Revenue Generating Agencies (RGAs).

They made the call during the first Monthly Policy Dialogue on funding the Federal Government’s next level agenda. The event was organised by the Office of the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to the President on Policy Development and Analysis, Alhaji Ibrahim Bapetel.

Other recommendations at the conference are: encouraging concession and creation of department to act as an institutional monitor and evaluator of RGAs, Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs), among others, to gauge their performances.

The stakeholders comprising economic experts, representatives of Labour, manufacturers and academicians, counseled that borrowing should be for income generating infrastructure, while money recovered by ACAs should be judiciously used in infrastructural development.

They also called for reduction in high cost of governance and tasked government to make sure that service delivery is consistent with taxes.

While appealing to government against removing fuel subsidy, as its removal will increase the sufferings of Nigerians, the stakeholders called for the repair of existing refineries or construction of new ones to contain unnecessary importation of fuel.

Earlier, chairman of the session, Prof. Sadeeue Abubakar, urged participants to proffer solutions and index for funding the next level agenda.

Prince Tonye Princewill, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who is also an entrepreneur, was a stakeholder at the conference. He said: “First of all we have to keep subsidies until we have refineries in good working order. Lebanon and Iraq are examples of hurried revenue generation gone wrong. First, we should talk about increased VAT on things like alcohol, cigarettes, fizzy drinks; then we should talk about VAT on luxury items. Road tax is also an option, but we have to show Nigerians what the money will be used for as a way of building confidence and increasing government revenue.”

Ahmad Sajoh, former Commissioner for Information, Adamawa State and compere of the event, said: “We are bringing sound people from all of these diverse areas, so that we can interrogate the process of funding the next level agenda. There would be no need to bring you all out here if there was no intention to use your input. In the coming months, you will see the impact of your contributions. Of that I have no doubt.”

Marco Hernadez, a lead economist from the World Bank, was of the opinion that growth needs to be funded, part of it from the public sector, part of it from the private sector as well. In his speech as he welcomed participants and later, Alhaji Ibrahim Bapetel said the policy dialogue was part of procedures to obtain ideas and policy suggestions that would assist the APC government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to affect the lives of Nigerians in a positive way.

“So many changes have taken place and so many ideas have now evolved. So what do we do? We cannot sit on our own; I think we agree that don’t have all the knowledge. We felt it is very necessary we start up a continued conversation with relevant stakeholders; with this we can come up with a new initiative that works. We have heard you loud and clear,” Bapetel said.

Revenue generating agencies singled out by the stakeholders for operational reforms include the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the NNPC and the Nigerian Customs Service.


•A cross section of participants at the first Monthly Policy Dialogue on funding the FG’s next level agenda

Source: News Express

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