The Federal Government has hinted of plans to boost the economy with N350bn as soon the 2016 budget is passed, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has said.
She spoke on Tuesday at the end of the two-day National Economic Council (NEC) Retreat at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to Adeosun, the money will partly be used to offset contractual debts in the country.
The retreat, comprising of 36 state governors and other top federal government officials, she noted, deliberated extensively on the drop in government revenue and how it is affecting the state government and their ability to pay salaries and obligations.
She said: “From the federal ministry of finance, in anticipation of the approval of the budget, we have virtually lined up about N350 billion which we would be pumping into the Nigerian economy in the forth coming months.
“We explained our rational and the processes that we have put in place, safe guards to ensure that this money actually achieves the desired objective which is to stimulate the economy.
“We are already discussing with some of the contractors who will be paid these monies and the objectives from the overall criteria is how many Nigerians would be re-engaged.”
Expatiating, she said: “We are specifically looking at contractors who have laid off staff and how many Nigerians are you going to put back to work as a result of this money that we are planning to release and we believe that this would bring significant economic activity.
Read also: FG, States, LG share N345.095bn for February
“We also discussed UBEC and the need to get legislative approval to change the need for counterpart funding on the part of state governments which we feel is putting them further into debt, to reduce that requirement from a temporary period to 10% from the current 50% and that will release an estimated N58billion that is currently un-accessed.”
On the drop in revenue, she said that the retreat resolved that there was a need to bring in more cost efficiency in their operations.
“In particular to look at the setting up of the efficiency unit within the state governments, to rationalise expenditure and of course to increase IGR. To that end, there was a need to generate data because data is the basis of any revenue collecting efforts.”
The Federal and state inland revenue services, she said, are to collaborate and do joint audits to invest in revenue, relevant technology and efforts to improve collection.
“There is a focus at state level on property and consumption taxes to help in improving revenue in a fair manner. Tax payer education must be intensified and to expand the tax base and ensure that there is a buy-in in the revenue collection agencies from the populace.”
She noted that during the retreat there was sharing of best practices from a number of states that could be applied to other states.
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears