FG Urged to Strengthen Oversight on Revenue Agencies

Analysts yesterday urged the federal government to focus on dealing with the current revenue constraints by paying attention to all revenue-generating agencies, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

They said the country needed to ensure that revenue-generating institutions maximise their collections as well as remit appropriately to the government.

The analysts, in setting an agenda for the government in 2023, also called on the government to boost crude production, and implement the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to the letter to ensure consistent growth in the energy sector.

In separate interviews with THISDAY, they urged the government to among other things, concentrate on creating an enabling environment to enable MSME businesses to thrive given that they remain the lifeblood of the economy.

They stressed that factors including insecurity, high inflation, and multiple taxations have crippled businesses, and had a knock-on effect on the economy in general leading to massive poverty.

Managing Director/Chief Executive, Dignity Finance and Investment Limited, Dr. Chijioke Ekechukwu, said the government must address oil theft to ensure Nigeria meets up with the OPEC production, and be ready to produce up to installed capacity.

In addition, he said, “Firstly, the government should deal with its revenue base and pay attention to all revenue-generating MDAs, including NNPC and FIRS.

“We need to determine that these institutions are maximizing their collections and are remitting maximally.

“We should ensure that FIRS is collecting all that they are meant to collect and remit the same accordingly. Many other revenue-generating parastatals that are not remitting what they collect should be enforced to do so.”

Ekechukwu, however, said the much-awaited Dangote Refinery should be supported to start production as soon as possible to reduce pressure on the country’s foreign reserves.

He said the government should do everything possible to reduce the embarrassing insecurity in the land so that farmers can go back to the farm and businesses can thrive again.

He said, “When insecurity is reduced, investors will start coming back to invest in the country and they will start taking us seriously.

“Promotion of exports should be a priority and a serious priority for that matter. This will help bring in more desired foreign currency and reduce the exchange rate.

“All Social intervention programmes should stop and they should channel the funds to building technical schools and colleges all over the country, to teach skills. This will create many entrepreneurs immediately after they finish. These are the low-hanging and ripe fruits.”

Also, Wealth Management and Business Development Consultant, Mr. Ibrahim Shelleng, said what is required in 2023 was for the government to provide an enabling environment to let MSME businesses thrive.

He said a thriving MSME sector will help boost growth and productivity in the country, pointing out that the impact will be felt almost immediately.

According to him, this will also curtail the massive unemployment figures among other various socio-economic opportunities.

On his part, Managing Director/Chief Executive, SD&D Capital Management Limited, Mr. Idakolo Gbolade, said the agricultural value chain should not be neglected and called for more deliberate intervention by the government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in key areas of the sector to drive food sustainability and security.

He said the government should embark on transparent social security measures to alleviate poverty and reduce the percentage of Nigerians in the poverty net.

Gbolade said, “The federal government should embark on key infrastructure projects to can guarantee mass employment for the unemployed and create programs in all key sectors to engage the teeming youth population.

“The federal government in conjunction with CBN and key drivers of the economy should evolve realistic measures to tame inflation and revive the naira.

According to him, “The government should ensure that the increase in crude production being witnessed now is sustained and efforts should be made to implement the PIA to the latter to ensure consistent growth in the energy sector.

“The government should also ensure that subsidy payment is stopped this year once the government can achieve self-sustainability in crude oil refining.

“The federal government must also focus on power generation and all its value chain to ensure improved electricity generation and supply to stimulate the manufacturing sector and sustain production in general.”

He added that the government should not relent on efforts to improve security in the country so that investors’ confidence can be restored towards more investment decisions in the year.