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Nigerian Senate, Finance Minister Disagree Over N12.43trillion Deficit Projected In 2023 Budget

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The proposed N19.76trillion budget for 2023 would have a deficit of N12.43trillion as a result of projected N6trillion tax and import duty waivers as well as fuel subsidy of over N6tn.

The Nigerian Senate, through its Committee on Finance, has expressed dissatisfaction with the projected N12.41trillion budget deficit contained in the 2023-2025 MTEF/FSP.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, at the interactive session held on Tuesday had informed the committee that the proposed N19.76trillion budget for 2023 would have a deficit of N12.43trillion as a result of projected N6trillion tax and import duty waivers as well as fuel subsidy of over N6tn if retained for the whole year.

The Chairman of the Committee, Solomon Adeola, stated the position of the committee during the interactive session on the 2023-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

Adeola told the minister that both the projected N12.43tn budget deficit and N6tn tax and import duty waivers should be critically reviewed downwards before sending the proposals to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

He said the minister should look into the list of beneficiaries of the waivers for required downward review to N3tn, with attendant reduction of N12.43trillion deficit figure.

“The proposed N12.43trillion deficit for the 2023 budget and N6trillion 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 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 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.”

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