Senate calls for review of N12.43trn deficit in 2023 budget proposal

THE Senate has raised a caution on the sum of N12.43 trillion to fund deficits in the 2023 budget proposal of N19.76 trillion.

The Senate committee chairman on Finance, Olamilekan Adeola, raised the caution yesterday when the committee held an interactive session with the minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and heads of revenue generating agencies on the proposed 2023– 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (and Fiscal Strategy Paper).

According to Adeola, the Federal government should critically review both the projected N12.43 trillion budget deficit and N6 trillion tax and import duty waivers downwards before sending the proposals to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

He told the minister to look into the list of beneficiaries of the waivers and reduce the proposed N6 trillion sum attached to it to N3 trillion.

“The proposed N12.43 trillion deficit for the 2023 budget and N6 trillion waivers are very disturbing and must be critically reviewed. Many of the beneficiaries of the waivers are not plowing accrued gains made into expected projects as far as infrastructural developments are concerned.

“The same goes for the tax credit window offered by the FIRS to some companies. Billions and trillions of naira can be generated by the government as revenue if such windows are closed against beneficiaries abusing them, and invariably provide the required money for budget funding, with fewer deficits cum borrowings.

“The Nigeria Customs Service should help in this direction by critically reviewing waivers being granted on import duties for some importers, just as the FIRS should also review the tax credit window offered to some companies without corresponding corporate social services to Nigerians in terms of expected project executions like road construction,” he said.

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Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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