By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed yesterday unveiled Federal Government’s Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives (SRGI) for sustainable revenue generation in all sectors of the economy.
The event had the presence of top government officials from various Ministries, Departments and Agencies in attendance.
She recalled that upon her resumption as Minister of Finance in September 2018, she took time to reflect and consider which issues would be prioritised over the course of her stewardship over the ministry, its agencies and its affairs.
According to her she has been guided by the issues outlined by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which include enhancing oil and non-oil revenues; optimising capital and recurrent expenditures; the management of global and domestic fiscal risks; working with our colleagues in other economic MDAs, to closely coordinate Nigeria’s fiscal, macroeconomic, monetary and trade policies.
She also pointed that among these focal issues, revenue enhancement has become a critical challenge in terms of the need to mobilise fiscal resources to deliver on socio-economic development targets as set out in the ERGP, based on the current fiscal terrain and recent revenue outturn performance with the realization of budgeted revenue at about 50 per cent as at the third quarter of 2018, which has a distance to transverse to achieve the ERGP’s target of a tax to GDP ratio of about 15 per cent.
She made it clear to those present at the unveiling that President Muhammadu Buhari mandated the Federal Ministry of Finance to generate more revenues to finance national development as it proactively monitor collections by all MDAs involved in revenue generation.
This mandate is very critical and important and I intend to make it my priority. It also is the very reason we are all gathered here at this launch event.challenge of revenue generation has been over the years despite referred to largest economy in the continent.
She further stated that the case remains the same with current contribution between oil and non-oil revenues to oil and non-oil Gross Domestic Product (GDP), hence the need to launch the SRGI.
She said: “Nigeria’s low revenue generation capabilities have been an enduring challenge to past and present governments. Although we are celebrated as the country in Africa with the largest economy, translating this wealth into revenues remains a challenge.
“We have therefore faced difficulty in mobilizing domestic funds necessary for human capital development and infrastructure that are both drivers of sustainable economic growth. Our current revenue to GDP ratio of about seven per cent is unsatisfactory and we are keen on exerting all efforts in turning this around.
“The case remains the same with our current contribution between oil and non-oil revenues to oil and non-oil GDP, for which our analysis on oil revenue to oil GDP reveals as 39% while non-oil revenue to non-oil GDP as 4.2%.
“Our VAT revenue to GDP in Nigeria for example stands at less than 1% (0.8%) which compares unfavourably to the ECOWAS average of 3.4%. So also, is our excise revenue which is 4.1%, compared to Ghana at 15% or Kenya at 19.5%.
“The first thematic area is on achieving sustainability revenue generation to optimally collect revenues, so we always maintain fiscal buoyancy and resilience.
“The second thematic area is on identifying new revenue streams and enhancing the enforcement with regards to revenue collection on our existing revenue streams.
“The third thematic area is targeted at achieving cohesion between revenue generating entities and equipping them with cutting-edge tools and expertise needed to support high performance, so we can turnaround our current performance on revenue outturn to meet revenue targets that we are charged with.
Earlier, the permanent secretary in the ministry and secretary Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit be(PICA), Dr MK Dikwa while giving an overview noted that the new revenue drive was the brainchild of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed.
He said, “the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives (SRGI) “serves as one of the mechanisms that will assist in improving public confidence in the tax system, delivering on governments priorities as it concerns the welfare of its citizens, growing the revenue system while ensuring the full recovery of our stolen commonwealth.