Recession would end soon -VP Yemi Osibajo promises Nigerians
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assured Nigerians that their government is working round the clock to reverse the current recession and tackle hunger among the citizenry. Although Osibajo disagreed with those arguing that the current government should desist from blaming previous administration for the woes betiding Nigeria. He stated these assurances yesterday during a state of the nation colloquim organised by Pastor Wale Adefarasin-led Coalition of Nigerian Apostolic Leaders which held at Guiding Light Assembly, Parkview, Lagos.
He attributed the regrettable state of affairs in the country to unsustainable economic structure, over-dependence on crude oil to the detriment of agriculture, vandalisation of oil installations; largely import dependent economy, dependence on foreign exchange and previously untamed high spate of corruption.
The two main reasons for where we are obvious; drop in oil prices and two, corruption. Anything else you’re looking at is just a manifestation of the two. When Trans Focado was bombed, we lost 40% of gas generation. Once there is problem in the oil sector, there would be problem in the economy.
“We could have avoided what happened in the North-east but $15bn arms fund was stolen. There is no economy that can withstand that kind of shock. When people say we should not talk about what has happened in the past, it is ridiculous. If you lose half of your foreign reserve, there is a shock on the economy”, he noted.
He said as part of efforts at blocking leakages that allowed for wasteful spending of scarce resources, government is embarking on fiscal prudence methods, particularly with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the I-pay policy.
“With the fiscal prudency, we are controlling how government fund is spent for efficiency and that has saved billions. With the TSA, we are able to ensure that government revenue is well accounted for and to control how government expenditure is received and spent.
“You heard when they said a high placed military officer receives N585 million from others’ salaries. With the electronic platform, I-pay, those kinds of anomalies are no longer possible. Then government is working to increase tax compliance. 700,000 new companies have been registered.
“Now we are trying to improve Value Added Tax (VAT) compliance. We are still at about 5% while other countries like Ghana have about 10% and our coverage is only 12%. So, it is better to increase coverage for VAT so that more revenue can come in,” he said.
He also noted that the federal government’s decision to deregulate the downstream sector of the oil industry was yielding positive results and uncovering the massive corruption in the subsidy regime.