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Nigeria Declines in Federal Revenue

The statistics ought to worry all well-meaning Nigerians. In their stark reality, they speak volumes about the huge drop in the federal revenue that might have impacted negatively on the pace of physical development in the country.

Broken down this would amount to an annual revenue loss of nearly 15 per cent. In fiscal terms, that is quite hefty. And should prompt immediate actions aimed at plugging the leakage.

Without question, this must have had a negative impact on physical development at all the three levels of government.
Mr. Okura did not merely observe the decrease in federal revenue but notably also called on auditors to be more vigilant in discharging their duties.
By that he was suggesting that the drop in revenue might have been the result of graft rather than actual decrease in earnings.
The unspoken message by the auditor-general was that revenue drop might not necessarily be the result of less income from both hydro carbons and other means of revenue but due to financial graft.

Any Nigerian who is honest with himself would concede that the auditor-general was merely being tactful.

The truth is that despite the war against corruption and economic malfeasance, there is still a high level of financial leakage in all the three tiers of government.

A good deal of the income that should have accrued to the state is unaccounted for. They are diverted to private pockets and bank accounts, to the disadvantage of the tax-payers.

That profile from all indications is not an enviable one. Many states and local governments make no real effort to boost their internal income. They simply wait for their own monthly allocation from hydro-carbon sales.

This is something to be worried about.

At a time when the emphasis ought to be on the diversification of revenue sources, it is rather unfortunate that our governments are focused on revenue from the crude oil sales alone.

We think there is absolutely no wisdom in that.

The nation cannot continue to delude itself by thinking that the oil wells will flow forever.
Already forecasts indicate that the wells will someday, not too far away, dry up.
Over-dependence on a mono-product economy is certainly not good for any nation.
It is tantamount to putting all our eggs in one basket-something no wise nation should do.
The standard prescription is that every nation should try as much as possible to develop alternative sources of income.
The alarm by the AGF was therefore right on target. It may be no use crying over spilt milk. But we can go back to the drawing board to see what needs to be done to reverse this unpleasant trend.
Each tier of government must feel under obligation to not only plug all cases of revenue loss arising from corruption, but also to think of multiple streams of income.
After all, leaders are paid to think and come up with solutions, not to preside over the allocation of what many of our leaders have merely come to see as the sharing of the national cake.