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Sunday, February 25, 2024

FG expresses concerns over rising expenditure amid revenue challenges

Accountant General highlights efforts to address revenue shortfalls and calls for collaboration with lawmakers

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has voiced apprehension over the surge in public expenditure juxtaposed with declining revenue, according to statements made by the Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Madein, during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Committee on Finance.

Speaking at the session focused on the 2024–2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, Mrs. Madein acknowledged the precarious state of the nation’s finances. She assured the lawmakers that ongoing efforts are being made to curb revenue leakages and enhance revenue generation.

Mrs. Madein highlighted the imbalance between revenue generation and expenditure, underscoring the challenges posed by the current economic reality, including regular increases in commodity prices. Despite the fiscal constraints, she emphasized that strategies to augment revenue are continuously being implemented to meet the expectations of Nigerians.

In her plea to the Committee, Mrs. Madein sought collaborative input in the form of plans, strategies, and ideas to support the ongoing efforts to boost revenue generation. The session also featured contributions from Mr. Armstrong Katang, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance, Inc.

Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Abiodun Faleke, described the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework as the cornerstone of the annual budget and essential for implementing the Federal Government’s plans and policies. Faleke emphasized the committee’s commitment to ensuring value for money in government agreements.

Faleke expressed concerns about diminishing revenues, attributing the decline to reduced oil earnings, Nigeria’s major revenue source. He highlighted the Committee’s determination to investigate the causes of oil shortages, addressing issues such as deductions at source from oil productions and revenue loss from waivers and exemptions granted to various organizations.

Citing instances like the $11 billion P&ID fiasco and the dollar-denominated agreement with Azura Power, Faleke stressed the Committee’s dedication to scrutinizing government agreements to ensure value for money. He lamented the impact of poor revenue on the country’s debt situation, with over 95 percent of revenues in 2022 allocated to debt servicing.

As Nigeria faces a foreign debt increase, Faleke urged ministries, departments, and agencies to uphold their responsibilities and negotiate for the country’s best interests. The Committee emphasized its commitment to regular oversight and quarterly sessions to monitor budget progress and report to the Nigerian people.

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