Since the coming of the Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, the economy has continued to receive various inputs on how it can be boosted, particularly as it regards revenue generation. It is understandable how this can be the target; knowing that so much infractions had been perpetrated through officialdom, thereby reducing the capacity of government in carrying out development through revenue generation.
Realizing the degree of damage done to the economy through numerous sleaze activities in the past, the government deliberately worked out ways by which revenue could be generated internally without depending on revenues from the sales of fuel and other natural resources. The intervention meant that funds were either frittered away or not declared to government or deliberately not remitted into the coffers.
That meant that several government revenue generating agencies failed to achieve agreed revenue targets. But much more than that, it reveals certain developments for which it must be stopped before it gets out of hand. For many, it is a pointer that those in charge may have worked out modalities to deny government of the much needed funds. It is gratifying that the Buhari government has resolved to come hard on such perpetrators.
In his October 1, 2019 Independence Day address to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence Anniversary; President Muhammadu Buhari was emphatic that all revenue-generating and reporting agencies would come under scrutiny so as to meet up with the goals of meeting the goals of internally generated revenues for development. In the past we have had cases where in-fighting between such agencies have resulted in the delay of remitting funds by government’s efforts at meeting datelines. The execution of such would have been possible had they adhered to the procedure.
It is understood that the new management framework would be rewarding all exceptional performance while failures to adhere to the new development would be sanctioned. What better way to go about it, even as the President said the government was committed to cushioning the effects of ‘any painful policy adjustments, is moderated, such that the poor and the vulnerable who are most at risk, do not bear the brunt’.
On this note therefore, we urge that the new Economic Advisory Council would get to work immediately by advising the President to ensure that policies must be pro-people; but more importantly they should be inclusive, as well as having sustainable macroeconomic, fiscal and monetary policies that address the needs of the poor.
The warning cannot have come at a better time than this. Government has woken up to the challenge to meet up with the needs of the people. While it may be true that government has the desire to make up for the lost opportunities of the past, no agencies should be seen to be drawing the state backwards in its desire to shore up its revenue profile. That the opportunities were not properly utilized in the past is not reason to abandon what the government sees as encouraging and beneficial to our economy.