From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
A non-governmental organisation and a knowledge institution, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), has called for the expeditious prosecution of individuals who contributed to the economic malaise of the nation.
Speaking to newsmen, in Abuja, the Lead Director of CSJ, Mr Eze Onyekpere, wondered why the government should continue to subside fuel and electricity while leaving other priority projects unattended to. He advised that savings in the cost of governance and removal of subsidies should be channelled to capital expenditure in critical infrastructure.
“Federal Government is encouraged to discontinue fuel and electricity subsidies to create the fiscal space for funding of infrastructure and other national priority projects.
However, the prosecution of persons who contributed to the rot in the sectors should be undertaken expeditiously.
“Savings in the cost of governance and removal of subsidies should be channelled to capital expenditure in critical infrastructure backed by a cost benefit analysis” he advised.
According to him, to contain the rising incidence of debts, the government should implement schemes requiring the conversion of tax concessions into refundable tax credit.
“Tax expenditures should be capped as a percentage of overall actual and collectable tax. It is recommended that not more than 20 per cent of the available tax revenue be foregone as tax expenditure. The opportunity for the review of extant tax expenditures is provided by the annual Finance Act and the 2021 Finance Act should be the first” Onyekpere, said.
Alluding to the Auditor General for the Federation’s annual reports, the Lead Director, also suggested that urgent measures are imperative for the recovery of sums due to the Federation Account and the federal government.
In his opinion, special procedures and court proceedings leading to the recovery of the outstanding sums should be devised.
“Federal Government should consider setting prudential limits like debt service/revenue ratio to ensure sustainability of federal government’s debts. It is recommended that in the medium term, debt service should not exceed 50 per cent of retained revenue” he said.
Suggesting alternative measures to reduce direct sovereign borrowing including borrowing for government-owned enterprises (GOEs), Onyekpere, said that Public Private Partnership (PPP) of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) should be mainstreamed and a list of candidate projects prepared with a realistic timeline for implementation.