The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has stated that the country has to diversify its economy from dependence on oil revenue.
Dogara was speaking at the Chattered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria Abuja Tax Week on the ‘Dilemma of Improving Tax Revenue in Tough Economic Times’.
The Speaker told his audience how the House initiated a sectoral debate by ministers on the state of the economy. He explained that it was to underscore the importance of diversifying the economy of the country.
Dogara also assured the session that administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was working hard to re-engineer Nigeria’s economic development.
He explained, “Midway into fiscal year 2016, the challenges of meeting yearning expectations is still as daunting as ever but the government is as resolute as it remains dedicated to bringing succour to the plight of the average Nigerian…
“To do this, the government deliberately tinkered with the federal budget in order to ensure that it delivers a 70:30 recurrent to capital spending per total budget expenditure in order to boost capital formation in the economy.
“We realise that capital project financing is vital to providing new infrastructure that would help build the badly needed capital formation for our economy to grow. We need to do even better in the 2017 budget and afterwards.”
On taxation, he said the news in most of the states was not cheering, except Lagos.”
He added, “Our tax buoyancy does not leave us with any much to cheer as well at -3.21 in 2015 from its previous levels of -0.08 for year 2014. Combined contribution of the states to tax revenue stood at 15.43 per cent of total tax revenue with Federal tax revenue making up 84.57 per cent for year 2015.
“This was only a 2.38 percentage point increase in States’ Internally Generated Revenue. Among the states, Ebonyi State tops states with average annualised growth rate in Internally Generated Revenue of 98.59 per cent, while Kwara State is lowest with 0.77 per cent.
“On the basis of IGR per states’ population, Lagos understandably tops the chart with N22, 954.65 per capita, while Zamfara is lowest with N652.15 per capita as at 2015.
“This means that Lagos is more able to serve its people 35.2 times with tax revenue over its Zamfara counterpart.”