A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Thursday faulted claims by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on the fall in government’s revenue.
The minister had said in a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme last week that Nigeria’s revenue had dropped by 65 percent due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and fall in crude oil price in the international market.
However, Falana, who is also the Chairman of Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, said in a statement the claim by the minister was untrue.
He said the funds shared by the three tiers of government last month painted a different picture.
Falana said: “In the first half of this year, oil income distributed by the Federal Allocation Committee was actually 13 percent above that for last year and the level for the first quarter had been the highest for several years.
“However, other income, taxes etc, may have fallen due to the lockdowns and other disruptions from COVID-19. NEITI reported that in the first five months of this year, total government revenue was only 62 percent of the level agreed in the budget, but the revenue budgets are always over-optimistic.”
“It noted that the 2020 budget includes a benchmark oil price of $30 which compares to actual international prices now of around $40.
“Oil income for future months will probably be higher than expected in the budget. Oil provides about half the Federal Government’s income.”
He added that the Value Added Tax (VAT) in July was higher than June, indicating that other government revenues were also increasing despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
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