Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the Buhari-led administration will start firing from all cylinders as soon as the 2016 budget is unveiled.
He assured Nigerians of better times ahead, adding that they will soon get the change they voted for.
At a meeting with representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Abuja on Tuesday, Alhaji Mohammed said, ”This Government will not give excuses. The painstaking and methodical approach by the Buhari Administration, its deep analysis and understanding of the challenges and the recent inauguration of the cabinet will herald a new dawn.”
He further assured Nigerians that the APC-led federal government will implement its campaign promises.
”Nigerians will witness measurable and impactful progress in all spheres of governance. We shall not abandon our social intervention policies such as one meal a day for school children and the payment of 5,000 Naira each to vulnerable Nigerians. We are committed to lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty,” Mohammed said.
On how the Administration will fund its programmes, in view of the drastic fall in the price of crude oil, the Minister said it would be through the diversification of the economy, plugging of leakages as well as exploiting and widening the country’s tax base without necessarily raising taxes.
”A comparative analysis between Nigeria and South Africa will drive the point home. In 2013, with a population of 160 million and GDP of $510 billion, Nigeria collected $30 billion in taxes, whereas South Africa, with a population of 54 million and GDP of $366 billion, collected $74 billion in taxes.
In 2014, Nigeria, with a population of 170 million and GDP of $535 billion, collected $26 billion, while South Africa, with a GDP of $350 billion and population of 54 million, raked in $70 billion. From the figures, it is obvious that if only we can widen our tax base, we do not need to raise taxes to increase our tax revenue,” he said.