Senate to reduce Nigeria’s borrowing — Lawan

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said upper chamber will work with revenue generating agencies towards reducing the level of  the nation’s borrowing.

Lawan made this known on in Abuja, at an event to mark his 63rd birthday.

He said that the would support and supervise the agencies and keep them on their toes “for us to have more revenues in order to reduce the level of borrowing.”

“The upper chamber in the first-quarter of this year will focus on addressing the challenges of revenue generation, collection and remittance to shore up earnings by the Federal Government.

“An improvement to the country’s revenue figures will reduce Nigeria’s dependence on external borrowings for the execution of capital projects captured in the national budget.

“We still have a huge responsibility, and in fact, it something that we wanted to do last year, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic we couldn’t do so.

“This year, by the grace of God, we are to resuscitate that plan and it to keep and maintain focus on revenue generation, collection and remittance.

“Our revenue to GDP ratio very low and the economists will tell you Nigeria’s problem not debt, but revenue.

“So, if that the case, it means those of us in government must focus on dealing with the challenges of revenue generation, revenue collection and remittance.

“This year, we are to have engagements with the revenue generating agencies such as Ports Authourity (NPA), Customs, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and so on, on a quarterly basis, to have their targets set for them, and we want them to come and brief us on their performance every quarter.

“We hope to start the first meeting, which an exploratory kind of meeting with them either this month or early February.

“We want to see how we can make positive difference in the area of revenue generation.

“Nobody likes taking loans, borrowing or accumulating debts, whether as an individual, a family, a or as a country.

“But what can you do when you’re not able to generate enough? We are as concerned as anybody else about our level of borrowing, though we have not saturated, but if we can do better why not reduce, and the best way to reduce to get more revenues from especially independent sources.

“The government owned enterprises are supposed to give us more money. In 2022, we are expecting maybe about a trillion, I’m not an economist, but I believe that we should be expecting maybe double or triple from them.”

Lawan further said National Assembly this year, would also focus on security through oversight of funds appropriated in the budget to the armed forces and security agencies.

He explained that doing so would guarantee transparency in the procurement process and ensure the welfare of military and security personnel tasked with restoring security across the country.

“Today, the security situation still for more attention. We will give a lot of attention to the security situation.

“We have appropriated about a trillion naira for our security agencies and armed forces, now it for members of the National Assembly to ensure procurement process by the armed forces are transparent and everybody there accountable.

“Of course, we should do oversight as much as possible for the welfare of our soldiers and security personnel. They need to continuously be motivated,” he said. (NAN)