A member of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Alhaji Shuaibu Yamam Abdullahi, has expressed concern over the possibility of implementing the 2021 federal government’s Appropriation Bill when passed into law, in view of the nation’s continue dependence on oil as its major source of revenue and global economic meltdown.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, ‘Kwara state, Abdullahi therefore urged the government to commence a thorough diversification programme in earnest that would be pursued with more vigour and aggression, if the budget proposal would not be a mirage.
He said, “Oil is an exhaustive commodity. The whole world is taking steps back from fossil fuel and China, for example, which is one of the highest buyers of fuel, is saying by 2024, they do not want to have petrol-fueled cars any more.
“They (China) are thinking of electric cars. That is what is in vogue now, no serious country thinks of oil on the long term again”.
Abdullahi’, a former governorship aspirant of APC during the last general election in the state added that, “Currently, oil has fallen to as low as $40. So who will buy our oil now? We are not producing to our full capacity because people are not buying. The ones we are producing, we are not getting more than 40 percent of its value.”
‘”So the revenue of government is very small and declining. I remember how life used to be in those days.
“In primary school we paid nothing, in secondary school we also paid nothing. Even in my University days, I was paid to go to school. Even when I go home, I give my parents money. This happened at a time when oil wasn’t there.
“How were we able to achieve that? It was through tax”.
He explained further that, “When you are 20 years, you pay tax. People paid their taxes diligently. It was through that money that local authorities sponsored the school system. We had exercise books free, we had text books free and we got sponsorships too.
“Now with 200 million people, how many people pay tax in Nigeria now? Very few.
“With or without the COVID-19 pandemic, there are certain structural issues affecting the Nigerian economy.
“The Minister of Finance said that the problem of the country is just one: To take care of the people. Nigeria has a population of 200 million people at least that is what many agree on. We depend on one product, oil, as sustainer of our economy. So if there is anything that affects oil as it is currently, it affects the economy.”
He, therefore, advised the government to expand its tax net to cover millions of other people who have not been captured and have not been paying their taxes as expected of patriotic citizens.