Nigerian govt reacts to ‘planned diversion’ of budget to 2019 election


Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, says the 2018 capital budget of N2.4tn will be strictly used for infrastructural projects across the country.

The minister spoke on Sunday while responding to an enquiry by a member of the National Defence College Course 26 on the use of the capital budget.

Adeosun, who represented Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at a lecture delivered to the NDC Course 26 participants, stated that the Buhari government would not divert capital project funds for 2019 elections.

“The administration remains committed to infrastructure spending at the high level and the completion of major ongoing projects,” she said.

She also reiterated the commitment of government to its programme of transformation, jobs and wealth creation across the country.

Meanwhile, the federal government says it had compiled data on property, bank accounts, shareholdings, other income sources of individuals and corporate entities and was ready to expose those who fail to remit tax.

Adeosun, at the commencement of the sensitisation campaign on the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), in Enugu, said: “From our records, there seems to be a few rich people from this part of the country who may need to think very carefully about making a VAIDS declaration”.

“We have been compiling data on property, bank accounts, share holdings and other sources that suggest that many people have not been paying the right taxes. VAIDS is an opportunity to regularise.

“The good news for government, which is bad news for the tax evaders, is that globally, countries have agreed to share data under the Automatic Exchange of Information.

“This means that while sitting on our desks in Abuja, we are getting information about assets that the owners thought were well hidden from the tax authorities.

“As you know, Nigerians are entitled to keep their wealth anywhere in the world, including under their mattress, but what the law requires is that they pay tax on their income as they earn it.

“Currently, we have just 14 million taxpayers out of 70million, who are economically active. So many people who should be paying are not paying anything. Incidentally, we have 74million registered voters.

“Also, some who are paying tax are not paying the correct amount. It may seem smart for a businessman to go and get a tax clearance certificate for N200,00 when he earns millions, but I can tell you without fear of contradiction that not only is this illegal, but such people are cheating themselves and future generations.”


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