Tinubu Tasks Tax Committee on Nigeria’s Dependence on Borrowing
By Adedapo Adesanya
President Bola Tinubu has expressed his administration’s commitment to breaking the cycle of overreliance on borrowing for public spending that results in the burden of debt servicing.
Inaugurating the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms on Tuesday in Abuja, the President charged the team to improve the country’s revenue profile and business environment.
He also said that the federal government was moving towards achieving an 18 per cent Tax-to-GDP ratio within three years.
Mr Tinubu directed the group to achieve its one-year mandate, 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 its mandate.
Mr Tinubu said that the panel has the responsibility of assisting the administration in meeting the high expectations of citizens 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 said.
Acknowledging Nigeria’s current international standing in the tax sector, the President said the nation was still facing challenges in areas such as ease of tax payment and its Tax-to-GDP ratio.
“Our aim is to transform the tax system to support sustainable development while achieving a minimum of 18 per cent 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.
Recounting the President’s track record on revenue transformation, the Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, Mr 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,” Mr Adedeji said.
On his part, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, pledged the commitment of members to give their best in the interest of the nation. “Many of our existing laws are outdated; 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.