By Adedayo Akinwale
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has stressed the need for Nigeria to cut the cost of governance and improve internal revenue generation in order to build the infrastructure required to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
The speaker, at the commencement of Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) revenue considerations with revenue-generating agencies organised by the House Committee on Finance yesterday in Abuja said the country was facing a fiscal crisis, compounded by the intense disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that countries all over the world, including those rightly considered to be leading lights, are facing challenges redefining the way the government operates.
He stated that the National Assembly had to review 2020 Appropriation Act while at the same time borrowing more to fund urgent development needs and implement interventions to help the most vulnerable citizens get through these trying times.
Gbajabiamila stated: “All of us in the House of Representatives recognise that the challenges we now face will not abate in the medium term. Yet, we are committed to using the appropriations process as a tool for accomplishing our nation’s most pressing development objectives.
“We have a responsibility to act with urgent determination to build the infrastructure of opportunity that is required to lift millions of our fellow citizens out of poverty.
“We recognise that we cannot accomplish these objectives using loans and outside financing alone. Therefore, we need to impose deep cuts in the cost of governance and improve internal revenue generation and collection so that we can free up resources that can then be deployed to fund policy initiatives that will enhance the lives of our people.”
He stated that revenue-generating agencies of the federal government have a vital role to play in helping Nigeria out of its challenges.
Gbajabiamila lamented that there has been a consistent failure to adhere to the revenue remittance agreements to which many of the agencies have committed.
“We have credible reports that these desperately needed funds have in many cases, been diverted to finance unnecessary trivialities. At the same time, the government is left scrambling for alternative sources to fund priority projects. We cannot afford this dynamic, and we will not tolerate it anymore,” Gbajabiamila warned.
He noted that the legislature remains the keeper of the public purse, with broad constitutional authority to act on behalf of Nigerians to ensure that resources are efficiently administered in service of the