Despite opposition to the proposal to sell some of Nigeria’s assets, there were indications that the Federal Government is going ahead with the plan.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, who confirmed this yesterday has said a panel to identify such assets, has already been constituted by the Federal Government. He, however, declined to name the members.
Udo Udoma stated this during a media briefing on the implementation plan of the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NEPRG) 2017-2020.
The Minister stressed that as part of the plan; some provisions has been made in the 2017 fiscal plan still with the National Assembly.
He said: “At least N150 billion was included in the 2017 budget proposal to kick-off the implementation of aspects of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). To begin the process of restoring the economy we made a deliberate choice to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy as set out in the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 Budget of Change.
“The problem we have is not debt but low revenue. Once the revenue goes up. The target is getting our revenues up. We have said that in the short term, we will dispose some national assets to get additional revenue. And a committee has already been set up to determine which assets would be disposed.”
He stressed that in the medium term, the solution is to improve the level of tax collection, not necessarily the rate but the level of collection. “At the moment, our tax to GDP ratio is six per cent when the average for Africa is 15 per cent and in most countries in Europe, it is 30 per cent.
Once the federal government is able to raise tax ratio to 15 per cent, our revenue will triple,” the minister explained. Udoma disclosed that many of the initiatives in the ERGP are captured in the 2017 budget proposal.