THE Federal Government has lauded the non-oil sector for contributing 73 per cent to the government purse, stressing its importance in Nigeria’s economic diversification.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday December 1 while presenting the ministry’s score card of 2015-2023.
Ahmed said the non-oil sector had been contributing 30-35 per cent to Federal government revenue, but the figure had appreciated to 73 per cent, according to latest records.
She also informed that crude oil production had moved up to 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd), from a low of 800,000 bpd.
According to her, “We’ve introduced the annual finance acts which are the main fiscal instrument we use to carry out fiscal policy programmes and to amend fiscal laws that have either been problematic for businesses or unfair to businesses, or bring in more revenue to government.
“We’ve been able to enhance it among several tax laws and improve tax administration efficiency. We’ve also been able to increase taxes. For instance, the VAT increased from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent. We’ve been able to reduce taxes for small businesses.”
Ahmed explained that the federal government was set to establish the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, which will be an investment arm of the federal government.
“If the government is going to be in any business, the Ministry of Finance Incorporated is the investor standing on behalf of the government.
“Ministry of Finance Incorporated used to sit as a department in the treasury, but now we have the President’s approval to turn it into a world-class investment company. The Ministry of Finance Incorporated currently has 130 corporate entities and it has various investments in these entities,” she said.
The minister also disclosed that the road infrastructure tax credit scheme had attracted 33 road projects across the country approved by the government. She noted that N78.7 billion had so far been disbursed under the tax credit scheme.
“One of our major functions is to support the states. The ministry facilitates the implementation of various federal government intervention schemes to the sub-national governments.
“These interventions include the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, Healthcare Support Facility, Differentiated Cash Reserve Facility, and Several Bonds Issuance Programmes,” Ahmed added.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.