Nigerian Budget shifts focus from Oil dependency

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The Nigerian 2009 Appropriation Bill has been presented to the National Assembly with a solid guarantee to increase non-oil revenue like the tax take by the Federal Government, reports emanating from Abuja claim.

After several postponements and anxiety, President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua presented the N2.8 Trillion budget to the Joint Session of the National Assembly, out of which N103 Billion is meant for statutory transfers, while N283, Billion is for debt service.

President Yar’Adua said the administration would now lay more emphasis on increased revenue through tax.

He also announced a significant reduction in the overheads which had been a major waste pipe on public accounts for years now.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) would be empowered to be more efficient in tax collection – as would be expected of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) on duty collection.

He noted that non-oil revenues have performed better than anticipated, due largely to increased efficiency of collection of the various taxes. The current oil price situation underscores the overdependence of the Federal Budget on oil related receipts.

The President was hopeful that the measures being put in place would help to reduce dependence on oil, adding: “While the tariff bands under the new 2008-2012 Nigeria Customs and Tariff Book are lower than what previously obtained, the fifth band of 35 per cent continues to afford modest protection for some of our key local industries”.

According to reports, his administration will continue to lay emphasis on diversifying sources of revenue from oil to non-oil sources.

In the 2009 fiscal year, more emphasis will be placed on increasing remittances from public corporations, parastatals and agencies.

The president also added that N1, trillion has been earmarked as recurrent expenditure, while the balance of N796 Billion has been set aside as Federal Government’s contribution to the Development Fund for capital expenditure.

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