The Federal Government has been advised to plug fiscal leakages, focus on non-oil sector, and create an enabling environment for business to thrive as part of the measures to get the country out of the current economic crisis. Economic and financial experts, who spoke at a one-day economic summit held recently, said there was the need for the government to invest in infrastructure and seek ways to boost its tax revenue.
The summit, which had its theme as ‘Thriving in a period of economic uncertainty’, was organised by the Victory Chapel of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, Nextnomics Advisory, Mr. Temitope Oshikoya, the government must show interest in the prosperity of the poor and the downtrodden if it seeks to come up with policies that will impact their lives.
He said he believed that the lingering economic challenges posed great opportunities for the country.
Oshikoya said, “If you divide Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product into two, namely oil and non-oil sectors; the oil GDP is essentially in dollar terms and it’s only about $50bn, while the non-oil is about $450bn. When you look at the export, oil export as a percentage of oil GDP is more than 100 per cent while non-oil export as a percentage of non-oil GDP is just one per cent.
“If you look at our per capita GDP, it’s about $250 or $270 coming from oil while $2,500 is coming from non-oil GDP. In United States, the revenue as a percentage of GDP is about one-third , and it is the same in most OECD countries. In BRICS countries like Brazil, it’s about 20 per cent. In some other African countries it’s 15 per cent even some 10 per cent.”
The Nextnomics CEO remarked that if the country increased its revenue from about three per cent of the GDP to about 10 per cent, it would amount to N10tn.
This, he said, could be estimated to about three times what the government currently collects as revenue.
The Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, said Nigeria was currently undergoing tax regime revolution and transparency in order to develop the economy for the benefits of the citizenry.
Fowler, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Mr. Femi Edgal, said there was the need for Nigerians to exercise patience with the government as it seeks to deliver better services.
Speaking on behalf of the organisers of the summit, Mr. Bisi Olowoyo said the summit was part of the RCCG’s ethical responsibility to the people, adding that the economic realities confronting Nigerians “inadvertently promote an uncanny elevation of individualism that is both narcissistic and self-defeating.