Chairman, Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, (ASCAB), Femi Falana, has faulted the Federal Government’s claim that revenue has dropped in the greater parts of 2020.
The group, in a statement by Falana, asked the federal government to cancel the fuel and electricity prices’ hike.
Falana said the government’s claim of revenue shrink was fraught with inadequacies and figures that fail to reflect the country’s economic realities.
The group listed gross mismanagement of public funds, ineptitude, and gross incompetence Nigeria’s albatross.
It regretted that huge funds earmarked for the energy sector by notable members of the ruling class have consistently been frittered.
ASCAB said that since the Federal Government has announced plans to switch from PMS to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) the increase in petrol should be cancelled without delay.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timpere Sylva has assured the nation that CNG would be sold between N95 and N97 per litre.
The Federal Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed had cited revenue shortfall as reasons behind the government’s recent fuel and electricity tariff hike.
But Falana maintained the Minister’s claim does not reflect the state of the economy.
ASCAB listed certain factors that puncture the Government’s claim.
“In the first half of this year, oil income distributed by the Federal Allocation Committee (FAAC) was actually 13% above that for last year and the level for the first quarter had been the highest for several years.
“However, other income, taxes, etc, may have fallen due to the lockdowns and other disruptions from Covid-19.
“NEITI reported that in the first five months of this year, total government revenue was only 62% of the level agreed in the budget, but the revenue budgets are always over-optimistic,” ASCAB said.
It noted the 2020 budget includes a Benchmark oil price of $30 which compares to actual international prices now of around $40.
“Oil income for future months will probably be higher than expected in the budget. Oil provides about half the Federal Government’s income.
“VAT in July was higher than June indicating that another government revenue is also increasing after the problems with Covid-19.”
Falana said the cost of oil in naira is now 20% less than last year so there is no excuse for fuel price increases.
He noted that Nigerians should be benefitting from the drop in international oil prices despite any devaluation of the naira and that states can easily afford the new minimum wage of N30, 000 as their FAAC income is 13% higher this year than it was last year.