The senate yesterday, admitted the economy is in serious crisis with a debt service of N2.49 trillion in 2021.
In his goodwill message at the 40th Anniversary of Chartered Institute of Taxation (CITN), in Abuja, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, alluded that the debt service rose from N2.11 trillion in 2019 to N2.49 trillion in 2021 while the contribution of the major revenue- generating agencies to consolidated revenue account in 2020 was over N8 trillion.
“Last year it got to N11. 93 trillion. And today, we have almost half a trillion deficit of expenditure in terms of infrastructure delivery. Invariably, the economic problem in this country cannot happen without the active collaboration of elitist groups like CITN and other professional bodies,” he said.
Lawan who was represented by his Special Adviser on Economic Matters, Professor Nazif Abdullahi Darma, explained that Nigeria’s economy is a growing one with a population of over 200 million and three per cent growth rate. This implies that every year, six million people are added to the nation.
“Our economy is a growing one. We have over 200 million citizens. We have a growth rate of over three per cent. Meaning, every year, six million citizens are added.
On a daily basis, 26,000 babies are born. These demographic indicators are real challenges of providing quality social service welfare for its citizens” he said.
However, he said, the people’s participation in governance is predicated on their ability to pay tax.
“In most democracies in the world today, people’s participation in governance is predicted on the ability of those citizens to pay taxes as and when due. And that is where we saw a lot of fundamental questions raised on the way and manner the economies are being managed because taxpayers are actually the contributors of the resources that are used in running such economies” he noted.
In his remarks, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, lamented that Nigeria’s tax to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) ratio is the lowest in the world while its comparators are in the neighborhood of about 15 per cent to 25 per cent.
This, he noted, was symptomatic of undue reliance on oil revenue as a result of fiscal imbalances in the nation’s financial landscape.
Osinbajo who spoke through the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who in turn was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mallam Ahmed Aliyu, stated that tax collection has improved to the extent that FIRS exceeded its target for Year 2021 with N6.450 trillion from both oil and non-oil revenues.