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2023: The Senate and Minister disagree over the N12.43 trillion budget deficit.

2023: The Senate and Minister disagree over the N12.43 trillion budget deficit.

The proposed 2023–2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (and Fiscal Strategy Paper) has caused the Senate’s Committee on Finance to disagree with both Zainab Ahmed, the country’s minister of finance, budget, and national planning, and the leaders of the nation’s revenue-generating agencies.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed

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The proposed N19.76 trillion budget for 2023 would have a deficit of N12.43 trillion, according to the finance minister, who told the committee during the interactive session on Tuesday. This is due to anticipated N6 trillion in tax and import duty waivers, as well as N6 trillion in fuel subsidies, if kept in place for the entire year.

Olamilekan Adeola, the committee’s chairman, expressed concern over the submission and informed the minister that both the projected N12.43 trillion budget deficit and the N6 trillion in tax and import duty waivers needed to be carefully examined before being submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

He urged the minister to investigate the list of people who were granted waivers for the needed downward revision to N3 trillion, which would result in a decrease in the deficit number of N12.43 trillion.

“ 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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Daniel Mathias

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