- Nigeria Spending too Much on Foreign Products – ICTRD
The President, International Centre for Tax Research and Development, Mrs. Morenike Babington-Ashaye, says Nigeria spends too much funds on foreign products that can be produced locally.
As a result, she said there was a need for citizens to participate in the government’s decision-making process, adding that more accountability was required in the manner tax revenue was spent.
She spoke at a constitution roundtable organised by the ICTRD in Lagos.
Babington-Ashaye said, “We spend money in buying goods and services we can produce locally. We spend so much money in foreign exchange on invisible transactions through consultancy and technical services that our people are capable of providing but not given the opportunity. Our rural areas beg for development.
“We have places in this country where human beings and animals drink, and wash themselves in the same stream. How should we spend our tax revenue and proceeds of our natural resources?”
She explained, “Today, we are moving towards a clean environment in political, economic and social set-up. We pay taxes as citizens to government to provide a healthy environment on all these fronts. We allow government to harness our natural resources with the hope of using it to build a strong society. Therefore, it is important that we as citizens also examine areas that are begging for change and proffer solutions. We must ensure that our representatives in the National Assembly consult us, as citizens, on any national issues before making decisions on our behalf.”
According to the ICTRD president, the approval of a $5.2bn loan for the 2017 budget was an example of a decision that should have required more input from citizens.
She said a system where the executive was the planner and executor of projects could not continue as they have not yielded the desired results.
Babington-Ashaye said, “A system where the economic benefits of this nation are placed in the hands of few individuals is against the tenets of our constitution. Nobody can love this country more than Nigerians and we as citizens must be ready to determine our future.
“Those who have been elected, selected, or employed to serve the people must do so with clean conscience and must appreciate that the opportunity is transient and that the ultimate authority and responsibility rests with citizens. Our representatives must make the best of their position for the benefit of the people and not for any individual or group of individuals or people.”