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‘Why we’re borrowing to fund budget’ – Buhari



President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said his administration has been borrowing to finance the budget due to dwindling revenues.

He urged Nigerians to be alive to their tax obligations as taxation is a required sacrifice for citizens if the country is to develop..

The President spoke virtually during the First National Tax Dialogue held at the Conference Hall of the State House in Abuja.

He tasked the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and other relevant agencies to explore all standard practices to boost revenue.

According to him, the FIRS must ensure to plug all revenue leakages by ensuring strict tax payments by foreign companies operating in Nigeria.

He called for the deployment of more digital platforms and seamless connections.

President Buhari said having to borrow to augment the budget to fund urgently-required projects had increased the nation’s debt profile to N32 trillion as at last September.

The President said the government had “inevitably resorted to deficit budgeting as a result of declining revenues for some years,’’ resulting to increase in Nigeria’s debt profile.

“As we might expect, this has led to an increase in Nigeria’s debt profile which stood at about N32 trillion in September 2020.

“This funding gap created by the dwindling government revenue therefore underscores the importance of the national tax dialogue we are holding today.

“No nation has ever made progress without having to pay for it or make the necessary sacrifice. I, therefore, call on all Nigerians to be alive to their tax obligations.

“This government is strategically restructuring the tax revenue mix in favour of indirect taxes in accordance with our national tax policy document.

“To this end, FIRS is mandated to do all that is required in order to efficiently collect tax revenue due from transactions carried out using local and foreign online platforms.

“The government has made a relevant statutory amendment to tax laws in the Finance Act 2020,” he said.

The President also ordered all government agencies to automate operations and ensure more synergy in advancing the interest of the nation in revenue generation.

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