The Federal Government has said it will not impose additional tax on Nigerians.
It said despite the dwindling revenue from the sale of oil, Nigerians would not be made to bear additional burden via increase in tax.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Thursday in Abuja.
This was at the end of a meeting of the National Economic Council.
It was presided over by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).
Udoma briefed the press alongside the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode; the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano; and the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Badaru.
Udoma said: “We do not intend to increase VAT rate at the moment but increase collection rate from 20 per cent.
“We will also not raise the corporate tax because we do not want to impose additional burden on Nigerians.
“Government’s position is however that those who make money and have not been paying taxes should pay.
“We expect at least 20 per cent increase in tax collection rate, which is conservative in terms of our revenue projection.”
Udoma said the government would work closely with the National Assembly to explore other innovative financing methods for the 2016 Budget.
He said: “With reference to the budget, one thing we are determined not to do is to cut any of those capital projects because we need them to stimulate the economy.
“We are going to work with the National Assembly to see how we can get savings.
“One of the areas we are looking at is our cash call elements.
“The Minister of State for Petroleum is looking at how we can cut our cash call elements, which is about N1 trillion, by innovative financing.
“So he is discussing with some oil companies and looking for some innovative financing, which might pick up some of the financing, so that we reduce our financial output and contribution by the Federal Government.
“That will be a major saving, which can be used to plug the gap, particularly with falling oil prices.
“In addition, some of the capital projects, the various ministers for infrastructure are looking at how we can get private sector funding for some of them.
“For instance, the airports can be concessioned.
“We are looking at public buy back for some of the roads, looking at tolls.
“We have to be imaginative.
“But it is important not to touch the capital portion because that is important to revitalise the economy, to get our people back to work, to get growth moving again so that we can get the 4 per cent growth.”
The Council, Obiano said, also received the report of a committee that investigated government agencies collecting revenues in foreign currencies but remitting into the Federation Account in Naira.
Obiano said some of the agencies include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
He said: “On the report on some government agencies collecting revenue in foreign currencies but remitting to the Federation Account Naira equivalent, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance reported that apart from NNPC, NIMASA and Nigerian Ports Authority, other agencies involved in revenue generating are FIRS, Shippers Council, Airport Authority and Nigerian Immigration Service.
“He reported that the introduction of TSA has now resolved the problem as all accounts are under the control of the CBN.
“The Vice President reiterated Federal Government’s policy that NNPC and other agencies must present budget for approval before spending in line with TSA.”
Ambode said the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, submitted a report on his committee’s findings on the remittance of revenues by government agencies.
Based on the report, Ambode said Council approved that forensic audits be carried out on the identified agencies.
He said: “The Ad-hoc Committee has submitted a memo to the Council for approval on its findings.
“Eighty-one government revenue generating agencies were identified for forensic auditing.
“Eighteen core revenue generating agencies like NNPC would be audited by KPMG, an international audit firm.
“Other non-core revenue generating agencies would also be forensically audited by SIAO, a local auditing firm.
“Council approved engaging the forensic auditors.”
Badaru said the Accountant-General of the Federation gave a report on the Excess Crude proceeds and put the balance as at December 31, 2015 at $2.3 billion.
Badaru said the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, also gave an update on states that have received bailout funds and those outstanding.
He said: “The CBN Governor gave an update to the Council that 23 States have benefited from the N10 billion each ECA-backed soft loan.
“He said some states have not indicated interest, while some are still holding discussions with their banks.
“He also informed us that 28 states have benefited from the presidential bailout.”