The Nigerian Senate says revenue agencies can generate at least N3 trillion into the Federal Government’s coffers in 2022 if they cut down on wasteful spending.
Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate made the declaration during a meeting with members of the Senate committee on finance and revenue-generating agencies of the Federal Government, on Monday, in Abuja.
Lawan, who declared the interactive session open, stressed the need for improved government revenue, assuring the agencies of the Senate’s support through legislation.
“In 2022, the National Assembly assumed and rightly so, that government-owned enterprises can generate up to N3 trillion if we are of the minds we can achieve that and, of course, ensure that we oversight to stall any possibility of unwarranted expenditures by the agencies of the government.
“But that does not mean in any way that it is going to be some kind of investigation on what you do, but an encouragement of what you need to do.
“In this meeting and subsequent ones, there should be no holds barred on discussions.
“Where an agency feels it is encumbered in any way from achieving its target, it should say so, so that we are able to prescribe the right solutions for it to perform.
Lawan speaking further said that going forward; the leadership of the National Assembly would embrace rigid programmes in ensuring that more revenue is generated by agencies.
He also explained that the drive by the upper chamber for more revenue to the coffers of the government would enhance the economy and facilitate infrastructural development.
“We will be rigid; we will continue to insist because we believe that this is one sure and guaranteed way of reducing our deficit and borrowing.
“This committee is modified, because the leaders of the Senate believe that we can do far better and we have seen signs when last year some of the agencies performed beyond expectation.
“So, it is an opportunity for us to save and enhance our economy and, of course, make Nigeria achieve more infrastructural development which is the goal of this administration and every Nigerian.
“We believe that when you (revenue agencies) generate the money, we (National Assembly) appropriate it.
“Prudence is of essence here, when we spend our money. And when we borrow, like the National Assembly has always tried to do, we borrow to treat specific projects and programmes of government,” he said.
Chairman of the committee, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, lamented the insufficient funds for the implementation of policies and projects captured in the 2022 budget of the Federal Government.
He explained that the funds were derived partly from the revenue generated by government-owned enterprises and other independent revenue sources of the Federal Government.
According to the lawmaker, “there is an urgent need for all hands to be on deck on revenue generation for the government, as well as prevent misuse and leakages of such revenue for frivolous purposes not sanctioned by the National Assembly.”
He advised that for the government to eliminate deficits associated with the nation’s budget over the years, effort must be made to minimise borrowing to fund projects.
Revenue agencies present at the interactive session include: National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, Nigerian Postal Service, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and Nigeria Customs Service.
Others were the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Prisons Service, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS).
Also present were the Energy Commission of Nigeria, Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.