Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, on Tuesday assured Nigerians that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will offer measurable and impactful progress in all spheres of governance.
Mohammed, who spoke at a meeting with representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Abuja on Tuesday, also stated that the Administration will in the next few days, ”start firing from all cylinders”, starting with the unveiling of the 2016 budget.
The Minister said, “Nigerians will witness measurable and impactful progress in all spheres of governance. We shall not abandon our social intervention policies such as one meal a day for school children and the payment of 5,000 Naira each to vulnerable Nigerians. We are committed to lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty.”
He also assured Nigerians of better times ahead, saying they will soon get the change they voted for.
”This Government will not give excuses. The painstaking and methodical approach by the Buhari Administration, its deep analysis and understanding of the challenges and the recent inauguration of the cabinet will herald a new dawn,” the Minister said.
The Minister said the Administration will fund its programmes through the diversification of the economy, plugging of leakages as well as exploiting and widening the country’s tax base without necessarily raising taxes.
He said, ”A comparative analysis between Nigeria and South Africa will drive the point home. In 2013, with a population of 160 million and GDP of $510 billion, Nigeria collected $30 billion in taxes, whereas South Africa, with a population of 54 million and GDP of $366 billion, collected $74 billion in taxes.
”In 2014, Nigeria, with a population of 170 million and GDP of $535 billion, collected $26 billion, while South Africa, with a GDP of $350 billion and population of 54 million, raked in $70 billion. From the figures, it is obvious that if only we can widen our tax base, we do not need to raise taxes to increase our tax revenue.”
Alhaji Muhammed said the Buhari Administration will carry the Civil Society along in its efforts to change, for the better, the country’s fortunes.
”That is why we have started our engagement with you this early. Therefore, this will be the first in a series of engagements with the Civil Society. We see you as credible, and we see you as patriots, who are genuinely interested in the welfare of the people,” he said.
By Patrick Aigbokhan