President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why his Government keeps on borrowing money to finance critical projects.
Acccording to Buhari, the borrowing has become necessary considering the dwindling revenues.
He called on Nigerians to perform their consttutional obligations as regards prompt tax payment.
The President explained this virtually while speaking at the First National Tax Dialogue held at the Conference Hall of the State House in Abuja.
He ordered the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and other income generating agencies to use all standard practices to augment revenue.
He called on FIRS to expand the tax net by plugging all revenue leakages by foreign companies doing business Nigeria.
He also harped on the importance of of more digital platforms and connections.
Buhari said the government had “inevitably resorted to deficit budgeting as a result of declining revenues for some years,’’ resulting to increase in Nigeria’s debt profile.
“As we might expect, this has led to an increase in Nigeria’s debt profile which stood at about N32 trillion in September 2020.
“This funding gap created by the dwindling government revenue therefore underscores the importance of the national tax dialogue we are holding today.
“No nation has ever made progress without having to pay for it or make the necessary sacrifice. I, therefore, call on all Nigerians to be alive to their tax obligations.
“This government is strategically restructuring the tax revenue mix in favour of indirect taxes in accordance with our national tax policy document.
“To this end, FIRS is mandated to do all that is required in order to efficiently collect tax revenue due from transactions carried out using local and foreign online platforms.
“The government has made a relevant statutory amendment to tax laws in the Finance Act 2020,” he said.
The President also ordered all government agencies to automate operations and ensure more synergy in advancing the interest of the nation in revenue generation.
He said: “It is not enough that our citizens and local businesses pay their fair share of taxes. Equally, foreign businesses must also not be allowed to continue to exploit our markets and economy without paying appropriate taxes.
“Accordingly, the FIRS has my mandate to speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programmes to stamp out Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in all their ramifications and generally automate its tax processes.
“In line with this, I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for a seamless connection.
“FIRS must ensure that its deployment of technology for automation is done in line with international best practices.
“In particular, FIRS can borrow a leaf from other countries which have successfully automated their tax processes.”