Finance Minister defends border closure 

FG mulls increase in VAT, excise duties
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed. PHOTO CREDIT: Leadership


The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says the nation will not be able to reach 80 per cent revenue performance for 2019, adding that the issue of border closure is to protect Nigeria’s interest.

She said this on Monday at the public presentation of the 2020 budget proposals in Abuja.

Ahmed said, “As to whether we will reach the N8.33 trillion at the end of 2019 is very unlikely and that is why we have to make special efforts to boost revenue performance.

“It is clear that we can not reach even 80 per cent and that is why we have to do several things to make sure that revenue performance is enhanced.

“Releases did not start until late July and as at last week we had scheduled and releases are now up to N650 billion.”

Speaking on the border closure, she said, “It has to be Nigeria first and we have to protect our own industries because some of our neighbours have been flagrantly abusing commitments that we jointly signed to and the President has said this is no longer acceptable.

“The border closure is not forever, there will be an end date, the Federal Government is currently in discussion with governments of our neighbouring countries Niger and the Benin Republic.

“We are negotiating to make sure that the challenges that led to the closure of the borders are addressed on both sides but, especially that our neighbours meet the commitments that we signed unto several years ago. Once those discussions are concluded, the borders will be opened again.”