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Experts urge FG to broaden tax net to reduce borrowings

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Finanical analysts have urged the Federal Government to broaden the tax net to boost revenue and reduce the country’s rising debt profile.

They gave the advice in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.

Sheriffdeen Tella, a Professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, said the Federal Government should broaden the tax net to improve its revenue and reduce new borrowings.

“The authorities should deploy technology so as to ensure that eligible Nigerians do not evade taxes particularly the elite.

“The payment of taxes is quite crucial to meet government statutory obligations to the people for the public good,” Tella said.

He suggested that the Federal Government should sell the country’s moribund assets to raise revenue and reduce the urge to borrow to meet its obligations.

He added that the political class must cut down the cost of governance to reflect the times.

“ Our political office holders must see the need to reduce the high cost of governance because the pandemic has led to a drop in government revenue.

“ The country’s economy is yet fragile and our office holders must live within the current economic realities,” Tella said.

Also speaking, Dr Titus Okunrounmu, a former Director, Budgeting Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the Federal Government should manage its debt exposure by strengthening its diversification drive.

“ More emphasis ought to be given to the mining sector, among others to contribute adequately to government earnings.

“The sector should be enhanced through private investment to change the revenue position of the country,” Okunrounmu said.

NAN reports the World Bank listed Nigeria among the top 10 countries with high debt risk exposures.

It stated this in the financial statement for International Development Association (IDA), which was among the World Bank Fiscal Year 21 audited financial statements released on Monday.

The financial statement said, “IDA faces two types of credit risk: country credit risk and counterparty credit risk.

“Country credit risk is the risk of loss due to a country not meeting its contractual obligations; and counterparty credit risk is the risk of loss attributable to a counterparty not honoring its contractual obligations.

“IDA is exposed to commercial as well as noncommercial counterparty credit risk.”

Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock, while India led the list with $22bn IDA debt stock, followed by Bangladesh with $18.1bn IDA debt stock, Pakistan with $16.4bn IDA debt stock, and Vietnam with $14.1bn IDA debt stock.

But the Debt Management Office (DMO), in a swift reaction, flayed media reports listing Nigeria as a “high-debt risk nation.”

The agency said such publications claiming that the classification came from the IDA Audited Financial Statement for the Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021) were a misinterpretation of the report.

DMO stated: “The World Bank’s report was an assessment of the performance of IDA and not the performance of the IDA loans nor the debt repayment capacity of the beneficiaries of IDA loans.”
(NAN)

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President Buhari transmits Business Facilitation bill to N’Assembly

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The Senate has received the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022, forwarded to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, for consideration and passage.

The bill was accompanied by a letter dated 17th June, 2022.

The letter, addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was read during plenary on Tuesday.

President Buhari, in the letter, explained that the expeditious consideration and passage of the bill would promote the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

It reads, “Pursuant to Sections 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Bill 2022 for the kind consideration of the Senate.

“Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Bill 2022 seeks to promote the war of doing business in Nigeria by amending relevant legislation.

“While hoping that this submission will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

 

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N5 trillion urgently needed to cushion effects double digits increase on ordinary Nigerians – World Bank

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The World Bank has warned that Nigeria could lose about N5trillion in 2022 from gasoline subsidies.

The bank also said that N5 trillion is urgently needed to cushion ordinary Nigerians from the crushing effect of double-digit increases in the cost of basic commodities.

The World Bank said in it Nigeria Development Update (NDU) released on Tuesday in Abuja.

The report said: “When we launched our previous Nigeria Development Update in November 2021, we estimated that Nigeria could stand to lose more than N3 trillion in revenues in 2022 because the proceeds from crude oil sales, instead of going to the federation account, would be used to cover the rising cost of gasoline subsidies that mostly benefit the rich”.

World Bank Country Director for Nigeria Shubham Chaudhuri, however noted: “Sadly, that projection turned out to be optimistic. With oil prices going up significantly, and with it, the price of imported gasoline, we now estimate that the foregone revenues as a result of gasoline subsidies will be closer to 5 trillion Naira in 2022.

“N5 trillion is urgently needed to cushion ordinary Nigerians from the crushing effect of double-digit increases in the cost of basic commodities, to invest in Nigeria’s children and youth, and in the infrastructure needed for private businesses small and large to flourish, grow and create jobs.”

The report noted: “Nigeria is in a paradoxical situation: growth prospects have improved compared to six months ago but inflationary and fiscal pressures have increased considerably, leaving the economy much more vulnerable”.

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Nigeria’s banking sector now immune to economic shock – NDIC

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Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said that the banking sector is now immunized to withstand shocks that may impact the economy and the financial system.

Mr Bello Hassan, Managing Director of NDIC said this at a retreat for members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions with the NDIC, in Lagos.

Any change in fundamental macroeconomic variables or relationships that has a significant impact on macroeconomic outcomes and measures of economic performance, such as unemployment, consumption, and inflation, is referred to as an economic shock.

Mustapha Ibrahim, Executive Director (Operations), who represented the NDIC boss, said Nigerian banking industry was currently resilient to most of these difficulties, particularly external shocks over which the Corporation had no control.

He said: “We have tried to immunise the system to withstand shocks that may be impacting on the economy and the financial system”.

Hassan, further said that effective risk-based management remained critical to a safe and sound financial system.

“The NDIC and the Central Bank of Nigeria have a very robust supervisory framework under the risk-based supervisory format the risk-based approach is actually proactive. For the most part, we try to anticipate all these risks – Macro, micro, domestically and globally – to address them continuously.

“So, it is so dynamic that we also are constantly on a real-time basis, monitoring the industry continuously and fine-tuning our supervisory tools, both onsite and offsite, to mitigate some of the challenges the banks may be facing,” he said.

On his part, Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, said the retreat demonstrated progress in creating lasting and workable relationships in the national interest.

Sani, who was represented by Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi, was optimistic that the outcome will aid in the strengthening of the financial and banking sectors, particularly the corporation’s supervisory and regulatory role.

“The National Assembly and NDIC are key institutions critical to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy. While we provide the legal and institutional frameworks, NDIC carries out its regulatory or supervisory responsibilities in order to safeguard the banking sector.

“Engagement of this nature gives us the platform to deeply look into our activities and responsibilities and also examine how far we have gone in carrying out our mandate as required. It helps in injecting fresh ideas into our operations which will materialise into an improved, effective and efficient service delivery to Nigerians,” he said.

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