Corruption Is Not Nigeria’s Biggest Problem

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Corruption Is Not Nigeria’s Biggest Problem

Nigeria’s annual budget is about $20 billion. Let’s assume that we correct for corruption and can conservatively quadruple that amount…Nigeria’s budget will now be $100 billion! But sadly, even that amount is still not enough to run Nigeria a country of a 180 million plus people!

To understand how small and unrealistic Nigeria’s budget is, the US annual “defense” budget not the entire budget, just the money spent on the Military is close to $600 billion.

And I know people will say “but Nigeria is not America”

But then consider this … the annual budget of Texas 1 of America’s 50 states is $209 billion. That is 10 times Nigeria’s annual budget!

The secret as to why the US revenue is so high as compared to Nigeria is really not a secret.

It is simply that they get over 90% of their revenue from taxes, while Nigeria on the other hand gets 85% of her revenue from Oil and Gas. This is Nigeria’s core issue mixed with the fact that Nigerians for the most part falsely believe that we have enough Oil money to build Nigeria like say a Dubai…but I digress…


To make matters worse, only about 15% of the Nigerian budget goes towards capital expenditure while the remaining 85% goes towards reoccurring expenses like salaries, silly pilgrimages and fuel subsidy type expenses. Thus the money left for capital expenditure projects such as new roads, airports, power-plants is about $3 billion! And let’s not forget that the Federal government still has to take care of the 36 states of Nigeria in that same budget.

To fully understand how useless $3 billion is, all you have to do is to look at one of the capital projects carried out in Texas. It was for a Houston Metro-Rail expansion, not a new system…an expansion. And that rail expansion cost $1.3 billion not for a Nation or a state but for a single city! That is about 50% of what Nigeria has to spend annually on capital expense per our budget. #Crazy

overview 2015

When you factor all this in then you begin to understand the poor reality of Nigeria and that is that even if Oil was to rise today to a $100+ a barrel … Nigeria will still be broke because since 1980-something our primary source of revenue has been an Oil and that Oil cannot support an entire nation as big as Nigeria.

Why our people focus on corruption daily is quite befuddling. It’s like a glaring gap … because even if somehow we are able to eliminate all the corruption in Nigeria but do not create NEW streams of revenue (other than Oil) Nigeria will not and cannot develop. This is our mathematical reality.

So for Nigeria to build state of the art Universities, Airports, Railroads and others … we would need to introduce a state of the art taxation system similar to the United States … fortunately we don’t need to go far…

We already have a well-tested and successful system in Lagos as executed by Fashola and Tinubu. What we have to do now is to expand the Lagos-State model to the Federal level and teach other Governors how to replicate the idea in their States.

Only when we do that … when we (you and me) start paying taxes regularly … only then can Nigeria be really ready to experience true CHANGE. #NumbersDoNotLie

twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili of
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Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
Follow him on Twitter
Stalk him on Instagram
Read his crazy titled books on konga or okadabooks
Feed his children at…no wait he has no kids…. 

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13 comments on “Corruption Is Not Nigeria’s Biggest Problem

  1. I couldn’t agree more! Another problem we have is the under-utilization of our population of which 70% are young people. If we can properly harness their potentials and energies, we won’t need oil money.
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  2. on point! Taxes and diversification of our revenue generating platform is key to economic surge in this country. But in a state where practically everything is not working especially utilities, its hard to even think of an effective tax system to be successfully put in place. its not always about the big companies paying taxes, the SME’s are also pivotal in establishing this system but without an enabling environment, tax evasion is a given.

    For the case of corruption, yes, its not exactly a holistic approach to solving our money problem, but believe me the average Nigerian will be all smiles if they know that the cookie jar of our collective wealth has been moved far away from the hands of kleptomaniacs we call leaders. As long as its done without any form of political shenanigans but who are we kidding?
    corruption is indeed not the problem but it has featured too much in our history for it to be ignored or whittled down.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      Fully read and understood. I believe that corruption is just a sexy part of Government. If you say you are tough on corruption people hail you as a super hero. But if you say you want to start charging taxes and removing fuel subsidy, people will stone you. That is the issue.

      Also I am still working on another article, but when I complete it it will talk about how corruption in Nigeria is nowhere near corruption in America. They just have a better way of packaging their corruption.

  3. chima on said:

    True! Very true, our budget always fail to capture the realities of the Nigeria State. Of course because most Nigerians do not even know whats going on; they just blame the obvious corruption! World over economies are moving away from single stream income profile to multiple income avenues for their country, but not Nigeria. I wish the present administration can indeed listen to people like Ofili, in order to generate policies that would once and for all put this nation on a part to greatness!
    Many thanks Ofili for once again putting forward a factual and analytical discourse on the state of the nation. I AM A BIG FAN!!!!

  4. Well noted point you have made, but in as much as tax can generate a lot of revenue I think it is kind of lazy to wait for businesses to pay tax before revenue should come in. It isn’t proactive enough. Being proactive will be what Singapore did where government set up businesses run by the people and to serve the need of the people. This is beyond civil service but instead will be run like multi-nationals but regulated by government. We also need to start producing and shift from being a consumer nation. I believe the government is too big to just be regulators of an economy; our public service can work if given quality attention. The mineral resources are there not just to be mined and exported but full scale exploration and production of end-products from them. Challenges are many, and so are the avenues for wealth creation.
    Maybe if we didn’t have much resources we would sit up but people think we have so much to spend and manage the way we deem fit.

  5. Simply Sam on said:

    Very interesting article.

    A son is unlikely to be loyal to an irresponsible father. Nigeria has made Almajiris of us all, being loyal to her is a pipe dream. Paying tax in a country like ours is an uphill climb, but let me not be too pessimistic. No Nigerian pays tax willingly. SMH!!!

    #JerryEmegbo succinctly captured a lot of my thoughts on the issue.

    Unfortunately, I am not inclined to agree with you about the corruption part. Using the Lagos tax system you cited, Lagos is VERY underdeveloped despite its IGR and this is as a result of corruption. The developmental process of Lagos was mired in an extremely corrupt system which made useless the tax system. You generate taxes that are siphoned into personal accounts. If you know Lagos like I do, believe me, what was sold to most of us was mayonnaise coated puffpuff as shawarma.

  6. Dave on said:

    This is just awesome write up. Our leaders need to read this. Nigerians need to read this! Majority of the populace seem to believe Nigeria is soooo wealthy, our oil money can get us whatever we want. This is so wrong. If we dont create multiple streams of revenue, produce more, aspire self-sufficiency…we would NOT develope as much, we wouldnt achieve/maintain 10,000mw electricity. instead we’d be improving some other countries economy. Taxes however, is kind of the easiest way out for our govt. True it brings immense revenue, but govt needs to first off, motivate people to want to pay tax by effectively utilizing wat we have, which brings us back to corruption…we cant run from it!!

  7. Pingback: The Explosive MTN Fine And How It Affects You | Ofilispeaks

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