By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS—The Federal Government has commended Nigerians for their perseverance in the face of challenges during the last economic recession as it, weekend, said the time of abundance was at the corner.
The government also said as at October 31, 2017, it had realised N200 million and $55million from the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS.
Noting positive economic indicators at a press conference in Lagos, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the administration was now focusing on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, for what he said were the endless possibilities awaiting Nigerians.
The minister was flanked by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, who like Mohammed, flaunted Nigeria’s rise in the global ease of doing business, ranking as one of the successes of the Buhari administration’s economic agenda.
Speaking on what he noted as the triumphs of the administration’s economic agenda, Mohammed said: “I am happy to inform you today that we are winning. Our well-thought-out policy, encapsulated in the administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, launched April 5, 2017, is working and the results are beginning to show.
Doing Business’ report
“In September, we exited recession and returned to the path of growth, after five consecutive quarters of contraction. To show that taking Nigeria out of recession was not a fluke, less than two months later, precisely October 31, 2017, Nigerians got another good news: The country has moved up 24 places to 145th in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report.
“Not only that, for the first time, the country is recognised as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world. This is phenomenal. More importantly, it is the direct result of a well-articulated policy by this administration.”
Noting that the administration was now focussed on revving up MSMEs, he said: “We look up to these enterprises to provide the endless possibilities for Nigeria’s economic growth. We know for sure that if the MSMEs blossom, Nigeria’s economy will thrive.
“Lest I forget, we even surpassed our target. We had hoped to move up 20 places. We beat that by four more to move up 24 places.
“For 8th consecutive months, headline inflation has been falling; the foreign exchange reserves are up to $34 billion, from $24 billion a year ago; oil production is at nearly two million barrels per day, a significant improvement from 2016 when it was mostly below a million.
‘’The value of the naira in the parallel market has appreciated significantly in recent times against the US dollar, and that at about $1.8 billion, the capital inflows in the second quarter of 2017 were almost double the $908 million in the first quarter.
VAIDS rakes in N200m, $55m
‘’The good news in the area of the economy continues. As part of the administration’s efforts to improve Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio, which currently sits at a paltry six per cent, one of the lowest in the world, the administration has launched what is called the Nigerian Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS.
“In exchange for fully and honestly declaring previously undisclosed assets and income, taxpayers will benefit from forgiveness of overdue interest and penalties, and the assurance of not facing criminal prosecution for tax offences or tax investigations. As of October 31, 2017, VAIDS has raked in over N200 million and $55 million.’’