The Federal Government has said that the nation’s revenue profile had started rising due to increased oil production and improved access of manufacturers to foreign exchange for the importation of goods into the country.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, who was in company with the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Appropriations led by Senator Danjuma Goje.
Udoma said the country could only achieve about 55 per cent in terms of revenue expectations in the first quarter of the year partly due to the crisis in the Niger Delta and the inability of the manufacturers to import raw materials.
He said, “The bulk of it (low revenue profile) is because of the problems in the Niger Delta, which affected oil production and prevented us from reaching the 2.2 million barrels per day target even though the price was going up.
“At a point, production went down to one million barrels. Right now, we have been informed by the Minister of State for Petroleum that it is going up again to about 1.9 million barrels, but that that revenue will come in three months’ time.
“This is because the revenue generation of today is not the revenue of today but of three months’ time. The Customs and the FIRS have told us that their revenue generation is seasonal.”
The minister added, “We are hoping that as the year goes along, we will recover some revenue from oil as production increases. We also expect revenue coming from the FIRS, because people don’t pay taxes in the first quarter.
“The FIRS had already reached 60 per cent of the projected revenue as of June this year and we expect it to keep on rising.
“The inability of the country to meet the expected revenue target has to do partly with difficulties in accessing foreign exchange that affected the import volume and therefore affected customs revenue because the importers and manufacturers could not import.”