THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday declared that Nigeria suffers low tax compliance and low buy-in of reforms because there is a high perception of corruption in the country.
The IMF, in a statement following a mission to Nigeria, also repeated its long-running calls to scrap fuel and electricity subsidies and said some reforms were needed as soon as possible.
It acknowledged the Buhari government’s “ongoing efforts to improve transparency and governance” but said, “more is needed to build public trust to implement difficult but needed reforms.”
“The government is in the process of presenting whistleblower legislation to the Parliament to facilitate untraceable declarations of corruption.
“However, perception of corruption remains high regarding the civil service, leading to low tax compliance and buy-in of reforms.
“Implementation of transparency and accountability measures committed under the RFI has been slow.
“Access and quality of information on the COVID-19 spending on the Ministry of Finance’s Transparency Portal has been uneven.
“The COVID-19 spending audits are just starting, and the publication of procurement contract recipients is incomplete.
“Major reforms in fiscal, exchange rate, trade and governance are needed to alter the long-running lacklustre growth path,” it said.
Nigeria’s economy grew just over four percent in the third quarter, the statistics office said earlier this week, the fourth consecutive quarter of growth.
However, the third-quarter growth rate slowed compared with the previous quarter.
The IMF warned that Nigeria faced “significant downside risks” in the near term due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as tenuous domestic security.
But the fund’s most urgent calls related to subsidies and foreign exchange.