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Thoughts on revenue generation



President Bola Ahmed Tinubu
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By Abiodun Komolafe

In a nationwide address last Monday, President Bola Tinubu announced some palliatives to
mitigate the impact of the high cost of living brought about by the fuel subsidy removal.
Great speech! Excellent delivery! So, kudos to Mr President! However, a section of Nigerians
frowned at the speech because ‘it was one-sided’. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); js">

According to this group, the president only
pleaded with the masses to persevere without telling Nigerians what the elite and the privileged
clique would be sacrificing to make Nigeria great again. Though Nigerians have never doubted
Tinubu’s capacity to be to Nigerians what Prophet Elijah was to the widow of Zarephath, they
had expected him to talk about, say, a certain percentage of the emoluments and the privileges of
the ruling class – beginning with the president, to the governors, the judiciary and other
politically-exposed persons – that would be going into a certain purse in favour of Nigeria’s
rescue mission. “The president spoke eloquently to appease the masses; but what about the ‘elite
of the elite’ who put us in this situation? Won’t there be a probe?”

Well, it is no longer news that the fuel subsidy removal has opened up many wounds, including
the worms of scams and inefficiency in Nigeria’s governance system. All the same, that Nigeria
is in dire need of an escape route from her present financial and socioeconomic predicament
cannot be overstated. A situation where annual budgets are hugely dependent on foreign
borrowings, always running on alarming deficits; and where monetary authorities only present
unrealistic balance sheets is not healthy for a country that’s already on tenterhooks. Sad that our
economic expertise no more generates predicted results, and Nigerians continue to gnash their
teeth in deeper pains. Nigeria’s economy needs urgent surgery; otherwise, the future is in for a
serious mess.

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Tinubu is known as a revenue driver. He knows all the tricks in the business of governance. I
have also argued elsewhere that Zacchaeus Adelabu, his Special Adviser on Revenue, is a man
of unimpeachable pedigree. I stand by my words! As fate would have it, the Oyo State-born
technocrat is the man chosen by the president to help him find reasonable solutions to that very
important aspect of governance. The bitter truth is that the task before Adedeji and his team is as
enormous as it is unenviable. But while our president expects Nigerians to empathetically
persevere in the face of the agonizing pains, he also needs to bear in mind that, until the
superrich are prepared to play major roles in this cause, the troubling chapter of Nigeria’s history
will remain a tale too difficult to tell.

Living in penury amidst plenty! Nigeria is in trying times and all eyes can see it! According to
the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), nearly 133m Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor.
Of this figure, 86.1m (i.e., 65%) live in the North while the rest (i.e., 35%) live in the South.
Approximately 70% of Nigeria’s population is said to be living in the rural areas; yet, these areas
are home to 80% of poor people. The intensity of poverty in rural areas is also higher, at 41.9%,
compared to 36.9% in urban areas.

As if these are not enough, 4 out of 10 Nigerians are said to be experiencing monetary
deprivations but “more than 6 out of 10 are multi-dimensionally poor”. As at June 2023,

unemployment stood at 33.3%; underemployment at 22.8%; youth unemployment, 42.5%; and
youth underemployment, 22.0%.

Once upon a time in Nigeria’s recent history, the social media platforms were awash with the
videos of young men who, in their hundreds, were reportedly undergoing paramilitary training in
insurgency in selected camps. Unfortunately, the government of the day watched helplessly as
some misguided elements acted recklessly. Now, the chickens have come home to roost, with the
Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) as the culprits; and
Nigerians are living with the consequences. 

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But Nigeria can’t continue like this! To get out of this mess, let there be a comprehensive and
sincere economic summit. Let the leakages in our revenue generation be fully identified and
solidly blocked. Let oil theft and smuggling be confronted with renewed vigour, without giving
room for any sacred cows. Beyond the rules of engagement associated with the destruction of
illegal refineries, let there be innovative ways through which seized vessels and their products
can add value to the sources of revenue for the country. From Ilesa in Osun State, to Maru in
Zamfara State, let all issues relating to illegal mining be decisively addressed and scapegoats
made, where necessary. Most importantly, let the roles of non-state actors in the protection of our
pipelines and mining sites be reviewed in the overall interest of Nigeria.

We need to fix our hospitals with adequate resources and cutting-edge medical technology that
will help patients to diagnose diseases and get healed. Agriculture (mechanized farming) and
food security must be vigorously pursued while education sector and skills acquisition
programmes must be adequately funded.

At the heart of economic growth is electricity supply. With a population of 223,804,632,
Nigeria’s power generation capacity is below 5,000 megawatts. South Africa, with a population
of 58,048,332, generates 63.28 megawatts while Egypt, with a population of 109,546,720, has
60.07 megawatts to her credit. So, how did Nigeria arrive at this pass? Queen Elizabeth of
England was once reported to have recommended an electric firm that would give Nigeria
sustainable power supply, instead of paying the $12 billion reduced debt, which the Olusegun
Obasanjo-led government said must be paid back as loans acquired by Nigeria. For reasons best
known to him, ‘Balogun Owu’ never agreed to the Queen’s proposal. Instead, he went on a
turbine-building expedition. And, since society couldn’t sanction him, the former president
started pontificating, never to be satisfied!

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Wait a minute, why has Nigeria become a dumping ground for electric generators? Again, what
are the roles of estimated billings and what are the steps being taken by the government to put a
stop to this despicable act? Until these and other pertinent questions are answered, improvement
in electricity generation may continue to be a fantasy in Nigeria. Until all houses, even military
and public institutions are prepared to do the needful, there will be no stop to hike in electricity

According to experts in Tax Administration, tax evasion is a crime that can distort the overall
economic, political, and social systems of a country. Economically, it affects fair distribution of
wealth for the citizens. Socially, it creates different social groups motivated by tax evasion,

thereby leading to unfair and unhealthy competition. So, it is a criminal offence in the eye of the
law, and it is punishable by facing criminal charges bordering on money laundering.
In sane climes, tax evasion is another serious economic crime known as sabotage, which no law-
abiding citizen would like to commit. In the USA for example, former President Donald Trump
is still battling with it, in addition to several other offences hanging on his neck. But here in
Nigeria, the rich and the powerful are deliberately evading tax without proportionate
consequences. Starting with public institutions therefore, the focus should be on the rich while
the middle and lower classes are expected to key into 'pay-as-you-go.

Lastly, with the new drive to raise revenue by making individuals and companies to be corporate
responsible, fightback is imminent! Therefore, communication becomes of paramount
importance to enlighten and educate those concerned to make them responsible.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

Komolafe writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (

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