Bring informal sector to tax net to boost revenue, says don

 A university teacher, Prof. Bright Eregha, has urged the Federal Government to bring the informal sector into the tax net to boost revenue and reduce borrowings.

Eregha, Professor of MacroEconomics at the School of Management and Social Sciences, Pan-Atlantic University, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.

He spoke against the backdrop of the country’s rising total debt profile.

Recall that figures released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on June 9 showed that the country’s total debt stock rose by N191 billion in the first quarter of 2021.

The DMO said the debt stock rose to N33.107 trillion as of the end of March 2021 from N32.916 trillion in December 2020.

It said the country’s external debt, however, reduced due to the redemption by Nigeria of the 500 million dollars Eurobond in January.

The debt office said: “Total public debt stock, which comprises the debt stock of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory, stood at N33.107 trillion or 87.239 billion dollars.”

According to him, bringing the informal sector into the tax base will shore up government revenue and reduce the need for more borrowing.

“The government must begin to consider harnessing the informal sector to meet its statutory obligations.

“The potential of the sector when adequately utilised would change the revenue position of the country,” he said.

Eregha stressed the need for government to explore technology in tax collection drive to tighten leakage.

He added that political office holders must be cautious with more debt from new borrowings.

“Our leaders across the three tiers of government should be more careful so as not to allow our nation get to a debt crisis.

“As we must endeavour to keep to our children an economy which is better managed. (NAN)