Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the ordinary Nigerians are already feeling the results of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s efforts on the economy.
Osinbajo said this on Tuesday in an interview with Zain Asher, CNN international correspondent at a session at the annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos.
The Vice President gave an example of agriculture, which he said has generated more income for farmers due to conscious efforts by the government.
He said, “Let me give you an example of what is going on. For example, look at agriculture. I mean, it is very clear that agriculture has taken a quantum leap and we are producing far in excess of where we were even just a year ago.
Referring to the Northern states, in most of the Northern states, agriculture has become a significant economic contributor, and what we are experiencing, for example, take rice production, we are experiencing, in this season, we are going to find almost a tripling of actual harvest in rice and you’re going to see that replicating itself.
“So I think the common man would begin to see, because we are talking about real growth, we are talking about growth in jobs, and a lot of that is going to start with actual production dealing with agriculture first. We are hoping that the agro-processing would catch up. We’re hoping that resource manufacturing also would catch up, all of the resource manufacturing. We are hoping that even the innovation and technology-led manufacturing will also catch up. But all of these are, you know, we are at a point where I think we are taking off quite well and we will soon see significant improvement in the lives of people.”
Osinbajo added that the new tax system has seen wealthy Nigerians voluntarily coming forward to declare their assets.
He said, “It is very straightforward. If we discover after the 90-day period that you’re hiding away some money or you have not declared those assets that you ought to have declared in order for us to know what your revenue is and all of that, then it’s simple, it is very straightforward. Evasion of tax under our law is criminal. There is civil liability and criminal liability. It is very straightforward. The only thing that can prevent possible prosecution is if we don’t discover it. The moment we discover it.
“Okay, if you have assets in the United Kingdom, for instance, under the Beneficial Ownership Scheme in the UK now, we are going to know who owns what in the UK. So that is going to be made public; that will become public. Now, many wealthy Nigerians own assets in the UK and several other countries in the OECD are also opening up. So we are bound to know very soon what people own abroad in particular. What you own here is probably easier to discover. We will find out in due course. I think the most important thing is that we’ve set the framework and we’ve given a sensible period of grace. And already quite a few Nigerians are coming up and discussing the terms of their payment of whatever.”