The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, Taiwo Oyedele, on Friday, revealed plans by the government to present a detailed implementation of revenue disbursed to state governments since the removal of fuel subsidy.
He said the plan achieved through a memorandum of understanding would outline the number of projects and interventions undertaken by the governors from the proceeds acquired from the sacrifices of Nigerians.
He made these known while featuring as a guest on AIT's Moneyline business show, monitored by our correspondent on Friday.
According to him, the strategy is to stop disbursement of ‘audio projects' that are not accessible to citizens or in alignment with the intended goals.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the government has so far saved about N1.45tn from earnings generated from the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol between June and September.
An analysis showed that the funds remitted monthly to the Non-Oil Revenue (Savings) account of the government received the sum of N696.93bn in June, N389.7bn in July, N71bn in August and N289bn in September.
Speaking during the interview, Oyedele said, “For the subsidy, we need to improve transparency on the savings made by the government from the sacrifices of Nigerians. Those monies have to go back to the people in a way that is meaningful, productive and makes lives easier.
“And to implement this, it was clear to us that collaboration of sub nationals and we have discussed with the governors during NEC meetings and they were receptive but the process would have to start by developing a memorandum of understanding. Then develop an app or a document where people can see by each local government, including the Federal Capital Territory what is being done and they can see the location of those critical projects and their stages of progress.”
The former Africa Tax Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers further noted that critical steps involving presidential and ministerial orders are needed to eliminate multiple taxation and increase tax revenue goals set by the president.
Oyedele, who confirmed that the committee has begun drafting an emergency economic intervention bill, said several reform steps including the amendment of the constitution and tax laws are in the works to improve fiscal and monetary policies of the government.
He said, “Yes, we submitted our quick wins report to Mr president about two weeks ago but the recommendations are more than the twenty items that we published and in trying to implement those recommendations we have utilised different instruments and interventions. For example, some recommendations require a presidential executive order while some a ministerial executive order.
“Some even require changes to many laws, for example, one of the advice is that Nigerian companies and individuals should not be required to pay taxes and levies in foreign currencies as it's not helping our FX situation. When people have to look for dollars in Nigeria to pay the Nigerian government whether it is the Nigerian Port Authority, NIMASA or Federal Inland Revenue Services, making those demands can put pressure on the naira.
“Also, we need to amend various laws though we are currently working on a draft bill called an emergency economic intervention bill and of course, we expect that would go through the bureaucracy of government before it's presented to the national assembly.
“We started drafting immediately we presented a quick win report to Mr President and once the bill gets final approval, we will kick-start critical reforms. It is an emergency bill and not one to sit on for months because we need those things to start coming in quickly in terms of impact.”
He added that the government is committed to resolving challenges facing businesses in the private sector by introducing a “Personal relief allowance” for private workers and companies to reduce the burden on Nigerian business operators.
“There are plans to increase the exemption thresholds which we call “Personal relief allowance” for Nigerian workers because what has happened is that the federal government only provided N35k wage award for public servants but we thought that all Nigerians are making these sacrifices from fuel subsidy removal and foreign exchange harmonisation so why shouldn't private sector benefit.
“Hence, we are recommending additional relief for private sector employees or employers should any company try to give away wage awards or transport allowances or they are even employing more people,” he said.