FG Seeks Improved Revenue Collection to Fund Budget

Nigeria seeks to improve its collection of revenues from taxes and customs duties to fund the country's record 7.44 trillion-naira ($22.99 billion) 2017 budget, the minister of budget and national planning said on Monday.

Africa's largest economy has been in recession since last year, largely due to low oil prices and militant attacks on the country's Niger Delta energy facilities. Oil sales usually bring in two-thirds of the government's revenue, Reuters reports.

Udoma Udo Udoma, the budget minister, said the government was "making strenuous efforts to find the resources required" to implement its 2017 spending plan, signed into law last week, which seeks to increase capital expenditure to stimulate growth.

"We are challenging our revenue generating agencies, particularly the (Federal Inland Revenue Service) FIRS and customs, to improve their efficiencies and broaden their reach so as to achieve the targets set for them in the 2017 Budget," said Udoma.

The minister also said the government was making efforts to engage with communities in the Niger Delta to avoid a repeat of the disruption caused to oil production by last year's attacks.

Udoma made the comments during a public review of the spending plan. The minister also commented on last year's budget.

Udoma said "as at year-end" the government's actual revenue in 2016 was 2.95 trillion naira, compared with the 3.85 trillion naira budgeted. And he said oil revenue was 698 billion naira - 97 percent of the sum budgeted.

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