Despite having a massive fiscal deficit, a coalition of civil society organizations regrets that the federal government lost N16.4 trillion in income between 2020 and 2022.
According to a breakdown, the total amount of taxes that were not paid was N5.6 billion in 2020 and N5.5 billion in 2021. Another N5.3 billion in tax money has been lost this year.
The stakeholders expressed worry that the fiscal responsibility legislation could not be used to reconcile the 2023 budget proposal to distribute N5.2 trillion against estimated receipts of N8.45 trillion while running a N11.3 trillion deficit.
This information was provided to the media during a briefing on the coalition’s recommendations for the 2023–2025 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP), which also included representatives from Christian Aid, Action Aid, and the Centre for Social Justice.
According to the organization, the Finance Act 2022 needs to be changed in order to take away the minister’s authority to approve tax spending.
They further stated that tax expenditures should not exceed 10% of the medium-term revenue projections.
While reading out the suggestions, the Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Eze Onyepere, stated that by reducing current fuel subsidies by 50%, the federal government could lower its N11 trillion budget deficit and still save N3 trillion.
Additionally, he encouraged the government to put an end to crude oil theft, which wastes 400,000 barrels per day and costs $1.2 billion per month or $14.4 billion annually.
The alliance added that the mandatory use of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by all government-owned firms would enhance FG’s revenue by N1 trillion and that cutting the tax expenditure proposal by 90% would free up at least N4 trillion in revenue.