IMF boss Lagarde

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged Nigeria to explore means of increasing its revenue outside its traditional base of oil proceeds.

The IMF’s Deputy Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, Paulo Mauro, who made the call at a press briefing at the on-going 2018 IMF/World Bank Meetings in Bali, Indonesia, admitted that there is an issue of how to increase Nigeria’s revenue base, pointing out that the matter was not only crucial, but of utmost priority.

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Mauro, who was responding to a question on what strategy Nigeria should adopt to increase its revenue profile, said increasing the nation’s non-oil revenue was crucial, adding that way, more resources will be generated to fix infrastructure and attend to social spending.

”Indeed, we do see this – increasing non-oil revenues — as a crucial priority for the country. If one looks at the ratio of interest payments-to-revenues for Nigeria, that is quite high. And certainly, increasing revenues is the way in which one creates the space to do social spending, infrastructure, and other types of spending that benefit economic growth. So clearly, that is a priority.”

Stressing the need for increased revenue, Mauro also offered tips on how Nigeria could achieve the goal, saying the IMF has been discussing with the country some of the issues.

He said: “We have been discussing over the years with the government, and we see the priorities in tax administration, but there are also aspects of tax policy that would help. So, certainly, in the tax administration, to increase the compliance rate, something that could be done is to increase tax audits and to use e filing to a greater extent. There are data matching exercises that can be conducted.”