By Chika Otuchikere
The Federal Government (FG) has assured that the new 2019 Finance Act will arrest Nigeria’s fast rising debt profile
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who dropped this hint weekend, said the Act was conceived to meet a number of current challenges across the country, especially to curb increased borrowings by the three tiers of government.
Mustapha spoke in his office when the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Mohammed M. Nami and the Service’s Board Members paid him a courtesy visit, during which the SGF also presented Nami’s letter of appointments and those of the newly inaugurated members of the FIRS Board to the chairman.
Mustapha, who reiterated President Buhari’s support and confidence in Nami and members of the FIRS Board to deliver on the Service’s crucial roles in the implementation of the 2019 Finance Law, disclosed that funding gaps between government expenditures, especially in the area of desperately needed federal capital projects nationwide, forced the hands of government to borrow in recent times.
Despite the generous tax exemptions, reliefs and holidays granted to millions of working Nigerians and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) under the 2019 Finance Law, the SGF stated that government expected that it would generate higher revenue as the law becomes operative, especially from the FIRS, stressing that if more revenue could be generated from tax there would be less need for government to borrow.
According to a statement made available to the media in Abuja by Director of Communications to the FIRS chief, AbdullahiIsmaila, the SGF therefore, urged the FIRS chairman and his Board Members to be proactive in their tax collection drive under the 2019 Finance Law.
At the event, Nami said he would need the support of everyone to be able to deliver on his mandate of not only meeting the target but also exceeding it. He added that he and his team would work very hard to justify the confidence reposed in him.
On his part, Mustapha stressed that the Federal Government “needs all the money it can get to enable Mr. President deliver on his mandate.”
The SGF also revealed that as a cost-cutting measure in governance, the Federal Government has directed its officials, particularly ministers, to reduce the number of aides who travel with them. He decried the situation where the overhead cost of governance far outweighs capital expenditure.