With Nigeria’s 2023 projected budget of N19.76trillion having a deficit of N12.43trillion, the Senate has directed the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed to review downward its N6trillion tax projection and import waivers.
The N12.43trillion deficit, according to the Finance Ministry, will be a result of projected N6trillion tax and import duty waivers as well as fuel subsidy of over N6trillion if retained for the whole year.
Nigerian Senate, through its Committee on Finance, has disagreed with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, as well as heads of revenue generating agencies in the country on the proposed 2023 – 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
The Finance Minister made her postulations at an interactive session yesterday, informing the Senate Committee that the proposed N19.76tn budget for 2023 would have a deficit of N12.43trillion owing to projected N6trillion tax and import duty waivers as well as fuel subsidy of over N6trillion for the whole year.
Worried by the submission, the Committee Chairman, Olamilekan Adeola, told the Minister that both the projected N12.43trillion budget deficit and N6trillion tax and import duty waivers should be critically reviewed downwards before sending the proposals to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.
He also advised the Minister to look into the list of beneficiaries of the waivers for required downward review to N3trillion, with attendant reduction of N12.43trillion deficit figure.
“The proposed N12.43trillion deficit for the 2023 budget and N6trillion waivers are very disturbing and must be critically reviewed. Many of the beneficiaries of the waivers are not plowing accrued gains made into expected projects as far as infrastructural developments are concerned.”
“The same goes for the tax credit window offered by FIRS to some companies. Billions and trillions of naira can be generated by the government as revenue if such windows are closed against beneficiaries abusing them and invariably provide required money for budget funding with fewer deficits cum borrowings.”
“The Nigeria Customs Service should help in this direction by critically reviewing waivers being granted on import duties for some importers just as the FIRS should also review the tax credit window offered to some companies without corresponding corporate social services to Nigerians in terms of expected project executions like road construction,” Senator Adeola said.