An Economic expert, Dr John Isemede, has urged the new Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to urgently tackle leakages in the various sectors of the economy to increase the country’s revenue.
Isemede, ex-Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.
He said that the country generated sufficient revenue to tackle its needs but most of the funds went into private pockets.
The former National Consultant on Organised Private Sector (OPS) matters to United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), also spoke on increment in Value Added Tax (VAT).
He said that increasing VAT from five per cent to 7.2 per cent would generate little to the economy if the leakages persisted.
According to him, how would one explain a situation in an agency of government where N20,000 is paid for services and N5,000 is receipted.
“What this means is that faceless Nigerians are enriching themselves to the detriment of the economy they are employed to salvage,” he said.
NAN reports that on Monday, President Buhari constituted a new Economic Advisory Council to be headed by Prof. Doyin Salami.
Other members are Dr Mohammed Sagagi (Vice-Chairman); Prof Ode Ojowu; Dr Shehu Yahaya; Dr Iyabo Masha; Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; Mr Bismark Rewane; and Dr Mohammed Adaya Salisu (Secretary).
The announcement, which was contained in a statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said the council would replace the current Economic Management Team and will be reporting directly to the President.
“The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) will advise the President on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues, working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies,” Adesina said.
Isemede, a former United Bank for Africa Plc staff on International Trade, said that the government needed to look inward and check leakages in its agencies in order to generate sufficient revenue.
On foreign exchange restriction on 43 items by the CBN, the sales, export, agribusiness and marketing expert, said that the forex restriction on the items was in order.
He, however, said that the consequence of the ban had led to a shortfall in revenue from import duties, VAT and other levies to the government.
“The Ministry of Finance will find it difficult to draw up the national budget and finance it because another round of borrowing will lead to uncertainty in the economy.
“The N30,000 new minimum wage to workers has to be fulfilled, hence the need by the government to shore up its revenue to meet the challenges.
“More revenue would come from the agric business, solid minerals, petroleum sector if the refineries work, paper mills, infrastructure like the national carriers, Ajaokuta steel complex, power, among others, are fixed and harnessed,” he said.
The former member, Nigeria’s Trade Policy Review Committee in 2011, advised all tiers of government to create jobs.
Isemede noted that a country with an estimated population of 200 million to foreign reserves of 43 billion dollars was not too good.
“We must close the gap between the Monetary (CBN) and the Fiscal side of the equation, because we cannot run a country where we can produce wheat and we are importing wheat with over N650 billion and rice with over N360 billion annually.
“The Ajaokuta Steel Complex; the refineries, paper mills, should be revived to generate additional revenues,” he said.
Isemede said that no government would sign all sorts of agreements, open its borders and encourage importation without a balance of trade with others. (NAN)
-Sep 17, 2019 @14:52 GMT |