The Federal Government has denied speculations that it was planning to increase VAT, income tax and others taxes, National Daily has gathered.
Responding to a comment by Sen. Ben Bruce at a public hearing of the Joint Session of the National Assembly on the 2017 Budget, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma disclosed that the FG is working towards increasing its internally generated revenue through broadening its tax base but has no intention of increasing taxes.
Udoma argued in his statement that Sen. Bruce had given the impression that the Federal Government was about to increase taxes, a development he said will further worsen the economic fortunes of individuals and businesses.
“There is no increase in VAT, there is no increase in company’s income tax, there is no increase at all in taxes, but people who are not paying taxes must be made to pay. So the idea is to increase revenue by broadening the tax base, not by increasing taxes”.
Some economic experts who spoke at the session had advocated government spending its way out of recession, partnering the private sector to speed up growth, planning for sustainable development, working with the State governments for integrated development, involving relevant experts and consulting widely in planning, monitoring and evaluation projects, among others.
The Minister told the gathering, which also included Civil Society Organizations and private sector operators, that virtually all the views expressed by the speakers have been captured in the 2017 Budget.
“The concerns that have been expressed are reflected in the budget. The need to spend our way out of recession is reflected in the budget. The need to spend in a way that will attract private sector spending is also reflected in the budget. Indeed, the thrust of the budget is to partner with private and development capital to leverage and catalyse resources for growth.”
“If you look at housing we are putting in N100 billion but we are expecting another N900 billion from the private sector. If you look at the EPZ, we are putting in N50 billion but we are expecting a huge injection of funds from the private sector. So, this budget is aimed at achieving economic growth, aimed at achieving diversification, aimed at improving our competitiveness, aimed at improving ease of doing business, aimed at creating more jobs and social inclusion, and aimed at improving governance and security.”
According to him, the spending is targeted at areas that have quick transformative potentials such as infrastructure and agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals and services.