The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, says that not until Nigeria engages in more proactive measures to generate revenue domestically and through foreign investment, the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to borrow from money lenders.
Ahmad Lawan made these assertions in his welcome address to his colleagues in the senate chamber after Christmas and New Year break.
The senate president said that the need for more funds becomes necessary in order to enable the government to continue with its infrastructure development drive across the country.
According to him, the Upper Chamber will not rest on as it has resolved to interface with the revenue-generating agencies with a view to encouraging and assisting them to generate more funds into the coffers of the government.
According to Lawan “funding of the 2022 Budget is predicated on significant borrowing. Our country is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. We have to construct and provide infrastructure, in all parts of our country because infrastructure is needed for our nation to develop. However, we do not generate enough revenues to fund the provision of such infrastructure. Until more revenues are generated, the country has to borrow and also resort to other sources of funding our infrastructural development.”
However, he said; “we cannot continue to borrow endlessly. It is imperative that we need to improve on the revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio. At about 8% revenue to GDP ratio, our country is basically at 50% of what is required of the revenue to GDP of 15% for it to support any significant economic development.”
” The Senate will develop a strategy of engagement with revenue-generating agencies on how to make them achieve their targets and generate more revenues in 2022. The Senate will ensure that we boost their revenue-generating drive with a view to reducing borrowing for the development of our much-needed infrastructure. This is a major challenge for our development and we need to treat it as such.”
The Senate President also hinted that having consulted with their constituents, the National Assembly lawmakers will soon respond to President Buhari on the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill.
“As we all know, the Senate and indeed the National Assembly worked so hard on the Bill. Having consulted, the Senate will expeditiously look into the issue.”
“I urge us not to be discouraged by the situation. We should make this year the year for the final securing of our nation from the numerous security challenges.”
On the 1999 Constitution review, the Senate President said the committee has done so much work so far adding that the report of the committee will soon be presented to the Senate in plenary for consideration.