By Cecilia Ologunagba
Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, says the Federal Government does not have any intention of increasing taxes, but only working towards increasing its internally generated revenue through the broadening of the tax base.
Udo Udoma, made this clarification in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Akpandem James on Monday in Abuja.
The minister was responding to a comment by Senator Ben Bruce at a public hearing of the Joint Session of the National Assembly on the 2017 Budget.
The minister said “a view has been expressed that we should not increase taxes, that we should broaden tax collection instead, that is precisely what is in the budget.
“There is no increase in VAT, there is no increase in company’s income tax, there is no increase at all in taxes, but people who are not paying taxes must be made to pay.
“So the idea is to increase revenue by broadening the tax base, not by increasing taxes.’’
Bruce had given the impression that the Federal Government was about to increase taxes, a development that he said would further worsen the economic fortunes of individuals and businesses.
Speaking on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, Udoma said government consulted with the private sector extensively on the development of the plan.
According to him, government has a clear vision and is on a determined path to get the economy out of recession.
“We are determined, thereafter, to begin to go back to the path of growth, a more diversified growth, not depending just on crude oil.
“We want to stimulate our manufacturing sector, we want to stimulate agriculture; so we have a coherent, cohesive plan.”
The Minister of State, Mrs Zainab Ahmed said government was determined to ensure that Nigerians experience inclusive growth.
Ahmed said that the government had been implementing Social Intervention Programme (SIP) to experience inclusive growth.
“The SIP took off fully in October 2016 and all the four components of the SIP have now been rolled out in their first Phases and we are scaling up on a monthly basis.” she said.