FG tasks states on measures to cushion sliding oil prices

THE Minister of State for Finance, Mr Bashir Yuguda, on Friday urged state governments to adopt the austerity measures recently announced by the Federal Government to mitigate the effect of dwindling oil revenue.

Yuguda made the plea in Abuja while speaking with newsmen on the sideline of the Federal Account Allocation Committee meeting.

He said that from the gradual decrease in oil revenue caused by the fall of crude oil prices at the international market, all tiers of government should be less-dependent on oil revenue.

“For the past two months, we have been advising states to key into the austerity measures that we are taking at the federal level to cushion the effect of the declining oil revenue.

“If not because the Federal Government has taken early measures to mitigate the effects of the falling oil revenue, we would have been sharing half of what we are sharing this month.

“So, if we are relying only on proceeds from crude oil sales for us to sustain ourselves, this would have been more difficult.

“This administration has been putting measures in place to expand the economy and make it export-oriented, especially in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals and services.

“The effect of this came out clearly when we rebased our GDP.

“So, my advice to the states is that they tighten up. Let them prioritise their spending. Let them reduce their recurrent expenditure,” he advised.

Yuguda said that state government could copy the austerity measures of the Federal Government by making more efforts to generate more income through tax.

He cited tax on luxury items like mansion, private jets, wines and spirits, introduced by the Federal Government as area the states could consider for the generation of additional revenue.

The minister announced that the revenue target of the Federal Inland Revenue Services had been increased to N75 billion annually, explaining that the responsibility was to make the organisation to work harder on tax collection.

He, however, disclosed that Nigeria and other members of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were doing their best to ensure that oil prices stabilised at the international market. (NAN)

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