John Adams, Minna
Niger State Governor and Chairman, North Central Governors’ Forum, Abubakar Sani Bello, has said that there is an urgent need for the diversification of the Nigerian economy as a result of the volatility in the global price of crude oil.
The governor said the constant fluctuation of crude oil prices at the international oil market is a clear warning that the country can no longer rely on oil as its main source of income.
Governor Bello stated this when he led a state delegation to pay a congratulatory visit to Mohammed Mamman Nami on his recent appointment as the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A statement by the governor’s press secretary, Mrs Mary Noel Berje, quotes the Bello as saying that the signal has been there since 2015 following the decline in the revenue from oil as a result of the fluctuation of the price of crude oil at the international market.
The development, he noted, has necessitated Niger State to start investing in other sectors to boost its internal revenue and restore people’s confidence in the economy.
He advised that all states in the country diversify and invest in other sectors of the economy to boost their income, stressing that “in the nearest future, proceeds from such investments would be utilised in running the affairs of government.
“Any meaningful investment will take time, it has a gestation period and we have to also work on the system,” the governor added.
He decried the refusal of some Nigerians to pay their taxes, noting that such funds are necessary to address infrastructure deficits and other social amenities that have been stretched.
Governor Bello threw his weight behind the computerisation of the revenue sector, stressing that the infrastructure and logistics needed should be provided for the upgrades.
He also solicited for collaboration and synergy with the FIRS to assist the state in exploring more ways of enhancing its revenue generation drive.
In his remarks, the FIRS boss, Niger native, lamented the poor tax payment culture in Nigeria, describing it as the weakest in Africa, saying that “people don’t like paying taxes.”
According to him, tax collection in the country has remained a daunting task for the organisation, and therefore suggested the use of technology as a necessary step to reverse the trend of taxes payment refusal.