From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday, said that the nation’s revenue dropped by 57 per cent following the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, a situation that compelled the government to look for ways and means to augment its budget.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, who stated this in Abuja on the sidelines of the ongoing Open Government Partnership (OGP) Week celebration denied that the revenue drop was corruption induced. Agba said revenues of nation’s across the world had dwindled as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Revenues generally across the world, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic have been dwindling. With less revenue there is only little donors can do. Even within the country there is not much that we can do with less than what we are earning. And as an individual when you earn less, of course, it is going to affect your expenditure. That is why even though we had about 57 per cent reduction in the revenue due to COVID-19, we have had to look for other ways and means of augmenting our budget” he said.
On Transparency International’s (TI’s) report on Nigeria’s Corruption Perception Index, the Minister said that as a perception, corruption differs from people to people depending on the way they look at it and depending on the information that is available to them based on those that they had made contact with.
“Again, when you are looking at corruption there is corruption at different levels. There is corruption at the federal level, the state level —- even in private organisations. As you said, It is just a perception thing. But I disagree with you to say that it is increasing. Maybe it (corruption) is now being talked about more than before” he said.
According to TI’s Corruption Perception Index on Nigeria, Nigeria ranks number one in West Africa and 146 out of 149 countries in the world.
Referring to the speech he made earlier, Agba explained that before now the development partners had supported the OGP activities 100 per cent but OGP has secured a budget line of N250 million in the 2021 budget.
“I said we secured a budget line. It is about N250 million to take care of OGP activities. Since 2016 we have never had a budget line. It has been 100 per cent supported by development partners. So, as a way of ensuring sustainability of OGP and taking full ownership of it we thought it was expedient to create a budget line” he explained.