President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday, said revenue-generating agencies of the Federal Government were capable of generating N3 trillion annually if efforts were made to ensure prudent spending.
Lawan made this known in Abuja when he declared open an interactive session on the need to improve internally generated revenue of the Federal Government of and Revenue Projections of the agencies as stipulated in the Appropriation Act 2020.
The meeting was between the Senate leadership, members of the Senate Committee on Finance and revenue-generating agencies of government.
Lawan said the purpose of the meeting was to explore means of increasing government revenues.
He said the National Assembly would be strict on increased revenue, cut down on the country’s budget deficits and borrowings, and prevent wasteful expenditures by agencies of government.
He said the senate would provide the needed support via legislation to ensure that revenue agencies meet and surpass their targets.
“In 2022, National Assembly assumed and rightly so, that our government-owned enterprises can generate up to N3 trillion if we are of the mindset that we can achieve that and, of course, ensure that we oversight to stall any possibility of unwarranted expenditures by agencies of government.
“But that does not mean in any way that it is going to be some kind of investigation on what you do, but an encouragement of what you need to do.
“In this meeting and subsequent ones, there should be no holds barred on discussions.
“Where an agency feels it is encumbered in any way from achieving its target, it should say so, so that we are able to prescribe the right solutions for it to perform.
“As a National Assembly, let me say that the Senate particularly will be stiff on generating more and more revenue.
“We will be rigid, we will continue to insist because we believe that this is one sure and guaranteed way of reducing our deficit and borrowing,” he said.
Lawan explained that the drive by the senate for more revenues to the coffers of government would enhance the economy and facilitate infrastructure development.
“This committee is modified because the leaders of the Senate believe that we can do far better and we have seen signs when last year some of the agencies performed beyond expectation.
“So, it is an opportunity for us to save and enhance our economy and, of course, make Nigeria achieve more infrastructural development which is the goal of this administration and every Nigerian.
“We believe that when you (revenue agencies) generate the money, we (National Assembly) appropriate it.
“Prudence is of the essence here, when we spend our money. And when we borrow, as the National Assembly has always tried to do, we borrow to treat specific projects and programmes of the government,” he said.
The Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Sen. Solomon Adeola, in his remarks, decried insufficient funds for implementation of projects captured in the 2022 budget of the Federal Government.
He explained that the funds were derived partly from the revenue generated by the government-owned enterprises and other independent revenues sources.
“There is an urgent need for all hands to be on deck on revenue generation for government, and prevent misuse and leakages of such revenues for frivolous purposes not sanctioned by the laws of the National Assembly,” he said.
Adeola advised that for government to reduce and eliminate deficit budgeting associated with the nation’s budget over the years, effort must be made to minimise borrowing to fund projects.
Revenue agencies present at the interactive session include: National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, Nigerian Postal Service, Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Nigeria Customs Service.
Others were: the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Prisons Service, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS).
Also present were the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Energy Commission of Nigerians, Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.