National Assembly has set an annual revenue target of N1trillion for each of revenue generating agencies to enable the federal government fund national budget.
The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who stated this on Wednesday in Abuja, promised that the National Assembly would mount pressure on the agencies to meet the revenue target.
Lawan explained after the upper legislative chamber approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s submission of the revised 2022-2024 fiscal framework that generating more revenues through the agencies would reduce government’s deficit and dependence on external borrowing to fund the country’s national budget.
The Senate President noted that increased revenue can be realized, if the Executive and Legislature collaborate to ensure that revenue generating agencies remit all monies collected to the treasury.
He said: “I’m sure that those MDAs that remitted N400 billion could possibly have remitted N1trn naira, if we had pushed harder.
“So, we need to push harder because what this means is a revelation, that many of these MDAs have been cornering funds that ordinarily should have gone to the treasury.
“But for many years, they have been taking the funds unfairly and illegally. So, we should not be content with only N400 billion naira.
“It is a good thing that it happened, because that is an exposure of what they have been doing.
“But we must insist that it goes beyond the N400 billion naira. I’m sure we can get even more than N1 trillion.
“I agree that we need more revenues, so that we are able to fund our budget with less deficit.
“But we can only achieve that if the Executive and Legislature work hard to ensure that the revenue generating and collecting agencies perform their jobs very well and remit the funds to the treasury.”
Speaking on government’s resort to external borrowing, Lawan agreed that the deficit or the borrowing is a bit high.
He, however, said borrowing became necessary to fund infrastructures, adding that reducing it would mean improved revenue by the agencies.
“I believe that the additional revenues that have not been captured like the TETFUND, Bank of Industry and so on, were before just left out of the federal budget. Now, we can see everything, and we need to see more,” he pointed out.
Contributing to the debate on the revised 2022-2024 fiscal framework, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) advised the federal government to take seriously the issue of diversifying the Nigerian economy.
The lawmaker harped on the need to explore alternative revenue sources such as mining to boost the country’s revenue figures, warning that “the time of oil is over”.
Also, Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers West) described the government’s decision to jerk up the 2022 budget projection from 13.98 trillion to N16.45 as over ambitious and a proposal taken too far.
She added that one of the major challenges confronting the national budget is the absence of funds appropriated for under-recovery.
“No matter how much you get in terms of revenue, and we are really struggling, under-recovery can wipe that out”, the lawmaker said.
Apiafi called for sanctions on any Ministry, Department and Agency of Government found to have violated the provisions of the Appropriations Act.
She insisted that the sum of N510 billion for Service Wide Vote in the 2022-2024 revised framework was “outrageous”, adding that the National Assembly must be given a breakdown on how the amount would be used by the executive.
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