The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has stated that Nigeria’s status as an oil producing economy can’t be categorised along with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, with very high daily oil productions and low population.
Adeosun, in an article titled: “All Change, Nigeria Is Not An Oil Economy”, said the country does not fit into such description and it would be wrong to categorise it as an oil economy.
According to her, such economies can afford to have low or in some cases no domestic revenue mobilisation in the form of taxes.
With just two million barrels of oil per day and over 180 million people, the Minister estimated that 90 Nigerians share a barrel of oil compared to three Saudis, 1.44 Kuwaitis and 1.69 Qataris.
“Saudi Arabia with 10 million barrels of oil per day and 30 million people, Kuwait with 2.7 million barrels of oil per day and 4 million people and Qatar with 1.5 million barrels of oil per day and 2.5 million people are typical of such.
“These economies pursued an economic model that was built around a large government dependent almost entirely on oil revenue for funding,” she said.
The Minister, however, assured Nigerians that the Federal Government was determined to correct the identity crisis by increasing tax revenue.
She decried the rate at which companies evade tax and informed that government has identified over 800,000 defaulters, including some of its contractors.
Although she did not provide the identities of the offending companies, she noted that government was carrying out an audit of the defaulting companies.
The Minister said a situation where the entire country has only 14 million active taxpayers from an economically active base of 70 million was no longer acceptable.