The Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha has stated that the National Assembly needs to do its due diligence in the budget process because of the rising debt profile.
Oniha made the call on Thursday while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance.
Oniha lamented the raising budget deficit which has forced the government to resort to borrowing. She stated that the debt profile of Nigeria is over N41.6 trillion.
It would be recalled that the Federal government is proposing to borrow N11 trillion to fund the 2023 budget.
Oniha said the lawmakers must scrutinize the capital and overhead components of the budget to reduce borrowing.
“Debt has grown and that has come really from the annual budget. There are 3 levels where those borrowings have increased. We have been running a deficit budget for many, many years. So, each time you approve a budget with a deficit by the time we raise that money because when you approve it is giving us a mandate, authority to borrow, it will reflect in the debt stock, so debt stock will increase,” he said.
The DG also lamented the tax-to-GDP ratio in Nigeria. She stated that Nigeria is as poor as Yemen and Afghanistan when it comes to taxation.
“So, if you look at tax to GDP ratio of these other countries, they are in multiples of Nigeria. The world bank report did a survey and I think it’s about 197 countries and Nigeria is number 195, meaning we beat only two countries and that was Yemen and Afghanistan and I don’t think we want to be at those places,” he said.
It would be recalled that DAILY POST reported how the Buhari administration has been funding its budget with borrowed funds above the limit set by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.