Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria Vice President, on Thursday said that the country’s tax revenue has increased to 51 per cent in 2017.
Osinbajo made the disclosure at the FT Nigeria Summit on “Dispelling Uncertainty and Building Resilience’’ in Lagos.
He said that the 51 per cent growth year- on-year was due to aggressive tax policies introduced by the Federal Government.
Speaking on “Nigeria beyond oil- The pathway to transformation’’, Osinbajo said that the Federal Government had diversified the economy to ensure proper growth and development.
“Aside from oil, tax revenues have gone up by 51 per cent in 2017. We are recording high tax revenue in the history of the country,’’ he said.
Osinbajo said that tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be above six per cent it used to be, going by growth recorded in tax revenue.
On external debt, he assured Nigerians that the current debt profile was still small and nothing to worry about when compared to GDP.
Osinbajo said that the country’s debt to GDP was 21 per cent, compared with Ghana that was around 70 per cent and South Africa 50 per cent, USA 101 per cent.
He stated that the country’s debt to revenue as at Nov. 2017 was 34 per cent down from about 60 per cent in the past.
“The reason why we have the alarmists is because this is only a snapshot, if you take a snapshot of Nov. 2017, you are not looking at revenue, you might say that the debt is very high.
“So, you cannot respond to these things by snapshot because you are not taking into account the revenue.
“Our external debt is not something we should worry about, we have managed debt very well,’’ he said.
Osinbajo said that government would remain committed to the development of local capacity with implementation of various initiatives enlisted in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
On privatisation, he said that government was still committed to privatisation exercise and was too looking at assets that needed to be privatised.
He said that government would concession General Electric and the four major airports in the country.
Mr James Gunnell, the Managing Director, Financial Times Live/Global Conferences & Events, said that the summit would further brighten Nigeria’s complex economic and investment climate.
The summit would enable senior policy makers, major international investors, and multilateral organisations to put forward concrete recommendations and realistic solutions aimed at facilitating growth and overcoming the challenges the country was facing.