By Ndubuisi Francis
The federal government generated a total tax revenue of N52.3 trillion in the last 19 years (2000-2019), according to a policy brief released by OXFAM in collaboration with the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
Oxfam is a confederation of 20 international organisations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty while CISLAC is non-governmental, legislative advocacy, information-sharing and research organisation.
The document titled: ‘Policy Brief on Effective Public Finance Manage Roadmap in Nigeria’ observed that there have been consistent gaps in Nigeria’s tax projections vis-à-vis actual generation over the years.
It noted that in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, tax projections were N4.572 trillion, N4.200 trillion, N4.888 trillion, N6.747 trillion and N8.802 trillion respectively while actual generation were N3.741 trillion, N3.307 trillion, N4.027 trillion, N5.320 trillion, and N5.623 trillion, respectively.
Citing the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report on crude oil sales, the brief stated that Nigeria earned $1 trillion from oil revenue since 1999, adding that many factors were responsible for ineffectiveness of public finance in the country.
These include poor domestic resource mobilisation, obsolete laws and regulations, weak public institutions, corruption and leakages in public procurement process and low tax revenue as well as over-dependence on oil revenue with a high level of market volatility.
At an interactive session on policies, gaps and alternatives in fiscal transparency yesterday in Abuja, the Programme Manager, CISLAC, Mr. Chinedu Bassey, said public procurement is fraught with corruption, wondering why the same item is procured (usually inflated) at different prices by various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Public procurement, he noted, is replete with contract racketeering, embezzlement, bribery and fraud in the bidding process.
Transparency International (TI), using procurement as one of the indices for assessing country corruption level in 2019, ranked Nigeria 146 out of 180 least corrupt countries, implying that Nigeria is among the most corrupt countries in the world.
In another study on ‘Nigeria Public Finance Management Roadmap’, a tripartite contribution between government, civil society organisations and the private sector, corruption in Nigeria is estimated to cost up to 37 per cent of GDP, if not dealt with immediately.
The study was carried out under the Strategic Partnership Financing for Development, a joint project of CISLAC Nigeria and OXFAM country office in Nigeria and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs Supporting Civil Society Strengthening and Influencing.
The programme is being implemented across Cambodia, Nigeria, Niger, Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel (OPTI), Morocco, Pakistan, Uganda and Vietnam.