Wednesday, July 27

Obasanjo's advice on how to ease the prevailing economic hardship in Nigeria

Obasanjo's advice on how to ease the prevailing economic hardship in Nigeria

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has given insight into what the governments should do to overcome the prevailing economic hardship buffeting the country.

Obasanjo said when “times are hard” such as the one the nation contends with today, governments must not only increase the Internally Generated Revenue(IGR), but also endeavour to shrink their sizes and “reduce waste.”

The ex-President spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, when management of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), led by Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, visited him at his residence on Presidential Hilltop Estate, Abeokuta, yesterday.

The team also includes chairmen of 36 states Internal Revenue Services, representatives of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC), Nigeria Customs Service and the Immigration Service.

Obasanjo suggested that governments should become “slimmer” and merge or rationalise institutions existing separately to cope with the challenging economic downturn.

According to him, these are some of the things governments can do to get Nigeria and Nigerians “out of the tight situation.”

He, however, prayed that revenue from taxes would roll in sooner than later to cushion the effects of the hardship.

“When times are hard, it is then government needs more Internally Generated Revenue, and it is also the time those from whom the government would want to generate fund are hard to be able to get money.

“What do we have to do? They must continue to try with increase as much as possible, what each state can generate in terms of Internally Generated Revenue, but states must also embark on a number of things.

“One, reducing waste. Two, they have to look into becoming slimmer. Government can do a lot by looking at their own establishments. They have to bring together institutions that don’t need to continue to exist separately.

“And, generally, also show that the money they generate, the tax that the citizens pay are well utilised and they can show the people that, look you paid for this, and it has been well utilised’.

“I think these are some of the things we have to do to get us out of the tight situation that we are all in,” Obasanjo said.

Fowler said although the tax board would raise money for government, waste must be eradicated.

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