By Kemi Busari
The federal government has concluded plans to increase revenue by introducing new taxes, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, told lawmakers on Wednesday.
Mrs Ahmed spoke at the public hearing on the 2019 budget organised by the Senate and House of Representatives committees on appropriation.
The minister said the federal government has devised a new revenue initiative to increase revenue to fund the 2019 budget.
She said the initiative is segregated into three thematic areas and appealed for the support of the National Assembly.
“The first area is sustainability in revenue generation. The focus of this is for us to build a sustainable revenue generation ecosystem by ensuring resilience and applying automising revenue streams, applying the right incentives, the right safeguards as well as ensuring accountability and performance management systems.”
For this focus, she said the government seeks to improve collection, shock loopholes, and collaborate with trading partners to manage performance, deregulate and provide funding for the energy sector.
“The second thematic area is to identify new and enhance the enforcement of existing revenues streams. We plan to grow revenue by collecting new taxes, modulling the tax base and enabling strategic investment that will spur economic growth. In this area, we have identified some new taxes that we’ll be coming to discuss with the National Assembly. We’ve also continuously been working to broaden the tax base to expand and improve the value added tax performance.
“We will be working with the National Assembly to amend some laws and we might be using some executive orders.”
Mrs Ahmed did not state the details of the new taxes.
Different government officials have suggested new taxes on luxury goods like alcoholic beverages, as well as increase in the Value Added Tax.
This announcement is coming barely a week after the Minister of Budget and National Planning Ministry, Udo Udoma, and chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, announced that the government is planning to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) to fund minimum wage.
The government some months ago increased the minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000. The new wage has been passed by the National Assembly and awaits assent by the president.
Mrs Ahmed said the third thematic area is achieving cohesion in the revenue ecosystem.
She noted that the federal government is making efforts to ensure that the performance of the 2019 budget exceeds that of 2018.