The Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has stated that Nigeria can really reduce its debt burden, if there are more taxes and revenue leakages are blocked. According to the Guardian Newspaper on its website, the Minister stated this at a recent workshop on tax expenditure organized by the ECOWAS Commission under the Context of the Implementation of the Support Programme for Tax Transition in West Africa (PATF) in Abuja.

The Minister, represented by Fatima Hayatu, the Director of Technical Services in the Ministry, said, “If we have more taxes and redirect the taxes to the right fiscal sectors of our economy, we will reduce our debt burden. It is not as if the debt is beyond what the government can handle …So if we block leakages, and if it is transparent, Nigeria will borrow less and we will have more money to finance other sectors.”

Ahmed also noted that reforms in tax expenditure were gaining momentum. She stated that the government would look into tax exemptions and phase out old pioneer status beneficiaries and other mature industries enjoying various tax exemptions. The Guardian reported that the Finance Minister mentioned that Nigeria is now enjoying the benefits of tax exemptions and concessions it gave to small business, unlike before. One of the benefits, she said, is that ailing and small businesses are able to do more now and employ more youth.

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