The oil thieves have reportedly declared war on Nigeria, and the federal government should deal with them firmly, according to Senate President Ahmad Lawan.
When President Muhammadu Buhari arrived to submit the 2023 budget estimate to the joint session of the National Assembly, Lawan makes this statement in his opening comments.
“I think the oil thieves are our nation’s deadliest adversaries,” he declared. The robbers have launched a war on our nation and its citizens.
“I firmly believe that our economy will suffer if we do not promptly take the required steps to stop the thieves, as efforts to build infrastructure and diversify the economy will both be stymied. It’s time to fight the robbers with severe and desperate tactics.
“The situation becomes more unfortunate if we factor in the budget deficit estimated at N7 trillion and the grim prospect of its increase to about N11.30 trillion as presented in the 2023 – 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework / Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
“We can reduce the deficit by stopping the theft. We can also consider other options to source more revenues for the government. I believe that it is imperative to review the waivers and concessions the government has granted to the tune of N6 trillion”
Speaking further, Lawan asked the Federal Government to take out some government revenue agencies from the national budget.
“In a difficult time like this, some of the waivers may no longer be justified. In the same vein, we should consider taking off some of the major revenue-generating agencies from direct funding by placing them on the cost of collection of revenues, as we did for Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service.
In this regard, agencies like Nigeria Ports Authority, (NPA), Nigeria Communications Commission, (NCC), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), etc can be given encouraging costs of collections of revenues.
“The National Assembly Committees on Finance and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning should jointly look into this matter immediately. ”
He also asked President Buhari to make funds available to complete ongoing projects most especially, Legacy projects of this administration.
He also asked Federal Government to deal with the issue of flood which has become worrisome and called for the proper management of the nation’s dam.