2024 budget: Abbas task NIMASA, FIRS others to meet N18 trn revenue projection

Elizabeth AtimeNovember 29, 20234 min

The Speaker said the National Assembly will ensure that the 2024 budget includes concrete strategies for sustainable debt management.


The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, has charged revenue-generating agencies like the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to double their targets to meet the N18 trillion revenue projected in the 2024 budget.

The Speaker also enjoined the agencies to focus on raising more revenue through tax reform, fiscal reform, subsidy reform, foreign exchange convergence, and centralised revenue collection.

Abbas made the appeal in his votes of thanks when President Bola Ahmed Tinubu presented the N27.5 trillion 2024 Appropriation Bill before the Joint Session of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

According to him, “In view of this and the related challenge of a high level of public debt, the National Assembly will ensure that the 2024 budget includes concrete strategies for sustainable debt management, including measures to increase revenue and control expenditure. Specifically, the focus should be on raising more revenue through tax reform, fiscal reform, subsidy reform, foreign exchange convergence, and centralised revenue collection. In our recent engagement with MDAs (Ministries, Departments, and Agencies) on the MTEF (Medium Term Expenditure Framework), we emphasised the need for revenue-generating agencies to double their targets to meet the N18trn revenue projected in the budget.

“Mr. President, the effectiveness and legitimacy of fiscal policies depend to a very large extent, on public support. As the People’s House and in line with our Legislative Agenda, the House of Representatives will convene the first national citizens’ budget town hall to harness public input and opinion on this budget. We are convinced that this will increase transparency and accountability, improve policymaking, and increase trust in the government. Public participation in the budgetary process has been shown to improve resource allocation and service delivery as well as a more stable and robust economy. By seeking input from citizens, we aim to understand their local needs and preferences better and allocate resources more effectively.”

The Speaker also charged his colleagues to institutionalise pre-budget engagements with agencies of government so as to identify areas of legislative Interventions.

“Going forward, Mr. President, we will also work to institutionalise pre-budget engagements with the executive to further improve and hasten the budget process. The House has already commenced interface with MDAs through the Sectoral Debates to understand the challenges facing government agencies and identify areas for legislative intervention. All of these efforts are geared towards ensuring that we provide the necessary legislative support to your administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

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“I cannot conclude my remarks without highlighting some of the perennial problems that have hampered the budget process in Nigeria. These are well known to Mr. President, who is an experienced ex-legislator. Although the government budget is an important tool for economic management and promoting growth and development, it has generally not met the expectations of improved service delivery and development. This has largely been due to challenges relating to budget enactment, budget implementation and budget oversight. The well-known gaps in the various stages of the budget process underscore the need for budget reforms, including altering relevant sections of the Constitution and existing laws to strengthen the budget process and transform our budget into an authentic tool for development. For this reason, I propose enacting a Budget Act to strengthen the budget process and promote development outcomes. This is a well-established practice in democracies across the world.

He further assured the President of the swift action on the Appropriation Bill while ensuring that it is well scrutinised.

“Mr. President, let me, on behalf of my colleagues in the National Assembly, assure you that we will give this bill the utmost priority it deserves. While we would give it accelerated consideration, we will diligently scrutinise it alongside Nigerians to ensure that when it is passed, it will be a budget that best addresses the most critical needs of our people.

“Accordingly, we seek the cooperation of all heads of MDAs, especially during budget defense by committees. We shall thoroughly examine various aspects of the budget proposals, including economic feasibility, allocation and utilisation of funds and sustainability of proposed fiscal policies. This is essential for maintaining checks and balances, and ensuring that government spending aligns with national priorities and is conducted transparently and efficiently. Therefore, I urge all stakeholders to approach the deliberations on this budget with a sense of purpose and commitment to national development.

“Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the People’s House, we must proceed with the huge task ahead. The next couple of weeks will be tough and demanding for us. But I do not doubt our capacity to effectively and speedily discharge our constitutional mandate. We must ensure that the budget when finally passed, meets the expectations of the people we represent. We must equally follow through the implementation process through our various oversight engagements,” the Speaker stated

 

Elizabeth Atime

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