Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised the Federal and state governments on what steps to take to overcome the prevailing economic hardship currently being experienced by country and the citizens.
The former president counseled that “times are hard” such as the one the nation contends with today, governments must not only increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), but also endeavour to shrink their sizes and “reduce waste”.
Chief Obasanjo gave the advice in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, when the management of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) led by the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, visited him at his Oke-Mosan Hilltop residence, Abeokuta, on Tuesday.
The JTB management team was accompanied on the visit by Chairmen of the 36 states Internal Revenue Services, representatives of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC), the Nigerian Customs Service and the Immigration Service.
Obasanjo, who suggested that governments should become “slimmer”, also called for a merger of institutions that have continued to exist separately in order to be able to cope with the financial crisis as a result of economic downturn.
According to him, those measures are some of the things the tiers of government have to do to get Nigeria and Nigerians “out of the (current) tight situation”.
“When times are hard, it is when the government needs more Internally Generated Revenue, and it is also the time that those from whom the government would want to generate fund are hard to be able to get money.
“What do we have to do? They must continue to try with increase as much as possible, what each state can generate in terms of Internally Generated Revenue, but states must also embark on a number of things.
“One, reducing waste. Two, they have to look into becoming slimmer, government can do a lot by looking at their own establishments. Where do they have to bring together institutions that don’t need to continue to exist separately?
“And, generally, also show that the money they generate, the tax that the citizens pay are well utilised and they can show the people that, look you paid for this, and it has been well utilised. They must continue to try to increase as much as possible, what each state can generate in terms of Internally Generated Revenue, but states must also embark on a number of things.
“I think these are some of the things we have to do to get us out of the tight situation that we are all in and we pray that the tax will roll in sooner than later”, Obasanjo said.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Fowler said although the tax board is to raise money for government, it (government) also must eradicate waste.