The National Assembly will reconsider ongoing tax waivers and concessions to vet the eligibility of the beneficiaries.
This, it said, will widen the federal government’s revenue streams to finance the implementation of the 2023 appropriation act.
Senate President Ahmed Lawan revealed this on Tuesday shortly after the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) signed into law the 2023 Budget of N21.83tn along with the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Bill.
Buhari signed the 2023 transition budget at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and other members of the Federal Executive Council.
Lawan argued that implementing the 2023 budget will require considerable internal resource mobilisation in the next five months.
Therefore, the legislature will revisit all existing tax waivers and vet the eligibility of all beneficiaries.
This, he said, will form part of efforts to raise revenue without yoking Nigerians with more taxes.
“Ours is for us to focus on the next five months. We still have something worthwhile to do, even though both chambers have done almost all of what we considered our legislative agenda.
“But Nigeria faces challenges of revenue. And this is going to be our focus. This is going to be what the National Assembly, both chambers, will ensure that we get revenues, we find more sources, better sources, stabilise resources and of course, look into some of the legislations and some of the waivers and concessions granted to see whether or not they deserve to continue to be implemented in a manner they were approved. Or we need to reverse that because we need money in our country.
“But that is not to say that, we should raise taxes that will be out of the roof so as to cause problems for our citizens. But I believe that as a National Assembly, in the next five months, we must be looking at increasing the funds available to government and also ensuring that deficit budget is minimised in the next assembly by the grace of God,” Lawan explained.
On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the National Assembly adjusted various portions of the budget for the good of the country.
“Ours is for us to receive proposals and that’s why they’re called proposals. We need to collate all those proposals, look at what’s on ground in the various constituencies. And we have budget defence, we have ministries, we have departments, we have agencies that come to talk to us.
“We look at the reality of ground and what they have before them. And whether or not they can actually, execute their mandate as per their ministries and departments. It now behoves on the National Assembly, where it dims for to adjust figures, either downwards or upwards. And that’s exactly what we have done.
“You see the problem with the National Assembly is that you can’t win to lose. If you return the budget the exact way it is you’re called rubber stamp. If you do what you’re supposed to do and adjust figures for the good of the country. You call it jacking up or padding,” he said.