By Mustapha Sumaila
A pillar of the PDP, Dr Nnamdi Onochie, has advised the federal government to reverse the value added tax (VAT) from the current 7.5% to 5%, due to current inflationary trends in the country.
In a statement released Sunday in Abuja, Onochie said keeping the VAT at 7.5% would do more harm than good to the people given the current economic difficulties.
He argued that it had become necessary for the government to take measures to improve the human condition of the population, in a context of growing unemployment, especially among the youngest.
Onochie observed that seeking foreign loans every now and then might not be the solution for the country, saying macroeconomic measures should be taken to get Nigeria out of the woods rather than resorting to loans.
“The current administration has largely borrowed foreign loans and introduced harsh tax methods that have had a negative impact on the population.
“I submit that is not the way to go and I hope people will see the difference in 2023 if I am part of the new regime that will bring about changes,” he said.
Onochie, who was a former special functions commissioner at Delta, recommended what he described as open governance that would decisively tackle corruption.
He said technology was the best tool to fight corruption, to ensure corruption is tackled before it even happens.
The former Nigerian envoy to Algeria and the Philippines said any administration concerned with tackling corruption should deploy software at all levels of governance to prevent overcharging of contracts and other fraudulent transactions.
“If I am elected president, I will fully deploy advanced software and technology that will centralize and manage all government procurement, purchasing and contracting activities,” he said.
According to him, the centralization of public procurement will detect insertions of fraud, signal and deter the continuation or termination of processes, including financial waste and debauchery.
He lamented Nigeria’s continued rating as a nation with a high corruption index by international agencies, including Transparency International.
Onochie has challenged the ruling APC to have a visible impact on the war on corruption since the regime came to power six years ago.
“The most effective approach to tackling corruption is to prevent it before it happens, thereby removing corruption to zero levels,” he said.
Onochie, however, called on Nigerians to support the government in its attempt to place the country high on the committee of nations.