President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday in Abuja expressed his resolute commitment to break the vicious cycle of overreliance on borrowing for public spending, and the resulting burden of debt servicing it places on the management of Nigeria’s limited government revenues.
While inaugurating the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, chaired by Taiwo Oyedele, the President charged the committee to improve the country’s revenue profile and business environment as the Federal Government moves to achieve an 18 percent Tax-to-GDP ratio within three years.
The President directed the committee to achieve its one-year mandate, which is divided into three main areas: fiscal governance, tax reforms and growth facilitation.
He also directed all government ministries and departments to cooperate fully with the committee towards achieving their mandate.
President Tinubu told the committee members the significance of their assignment, as his administration carries the burden of expectations from citizens who want their government to make their lives better.
”We cannot blame the people for expecting much from us. To whom much is given, much is expected.
”It is even more so when we campaigned on a promise of a better country anchored on our Renewed Hope Agenda. I have committed myself to use every minute I spend in this office to work to improve the quality of life of our people,” he declared.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s current international standing in the tax sector, the President said the nation is still facing challenges in areas such as ease of tax payment and its Tax-to-GDP ratio, which lags behind even Africa’s Continental average.
“Our aim is to transform the tax system to support sustainable development while achieving a minimum of 18% tax-to-GDP ratio within the next three years.
”Without revenue, the government cannot provide adequate social services to the people it is entrusted to serve.
”The Committee, in the first instance, is expected to deliver a schedule of quick reforms that can be implemented within thirty days. Critical reform measures should be recommended within six months, and full implementation will take place within one calendar year,” the President directed.
While recounting the President’s sterling track record on revenue transformation, the Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, Zacchaeus Adedeji described the committee members, drawn from the public and private sectors, as accomplished individuals from various sectors.
”Mr. President, you have the pedigree when it comes to revenue transformation. You demonstrated this when you were the Governor of Lagos State over 20 years ago,” the Special Adviser said.
The Chairman of the committee, Taiwo Oyedele, pledged the total commitment of members to give their best in the interest of the nation.
“Many of our existing laws are out-dated, hence they require comprehensive updates to achieve full harmonisation to address the multiplicity of taxes, and to remove the burden on the poor and vulnerable while addressing the concerns of all investors, big and small,” he said.