Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that the World Bank has recognized Nigeria as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world.
He added that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also cited the business climate reforms in Nigeria as a major contributor to lifting the economy out of the recession last year.
Professor Osinbajo, who spoke today, Thursday at the Leadership Newspapers Award and Conference 2017, themed: “Towards Financially Viable State Government,” listed the various economic reforms which the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had undertaken.
according to him, one of the government’s priorities has been diversifying the nation’s revenue base. “When we assumed office in 2015, there were only about 14 million taxpayers of the almost 70 million economically active Nigerian citizens. Indeed, of the 943 persons who pay over N10 million in assessed taxes in Nigeria, 941 of them live in Lagos, the other two live in Ogun State.
“The question you have to ask is: how does any country survive when only a fifth of those who should be paying taxes actually pay them. And so we set out to implement the needed reforms, including our Tax Amnesty, which is being done in partnership with the State Tax Authorities. Today, we have added nearly 6 million tax payers. It is taxes usually that would pay for development.
“Secondly, is a focus on agriculture, and especially value-adding by processing along the Agro-allied value chain, creating jobs, reducing imports and exporting more. Since all the land is in the States, anywhere, except, of course, for the Federal Capital Territory, the States that have created the most jobs are those that focused on agriculture and the value chain. Rice-producing States, for example, have witnessed a tremendous rise in the prosperity of their people. So, states like Kebbi, Jigawa have noticed a significant improvement in the earnings of farmers and of people, and certainly more farmers
“Thirdly, creating an enabling environment for business is another must-do. We have pursued this goal aggressively since 2016, and I’m pleased to note that we have already started seeing the results.
“We have reduced business registration times; we have implemented a functioning Visa on Arrival system, launched an online system for filing taxes, among other reforms. By dismantling the bureaucratic obstacles in the way of businesses and investors, we are hoping to unleash the full potential of private enterprise; the kind of enterprise that creates jobs, that grows the economy, and produces future tax revenues for the government.”