Billionaire Philanthropist and former World’s Richest Man, William Gates, a.k.a Bill Gates, has urged the Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari, to endeavour to enhance its credibility in the eyes of its populace.
Gates maintained that the Nigerian government needs to generate more revenue domestically, to fund the nation’s development.
Speaking at a teleconference with members of the Nigerian Press, Gates explained that the government needs to gain credibility with its citizens, in order to ensure more taxes are paid; thus, raising its revenue mobilisation to a level similar to its peers.
His words: “One challenge that Nigeria has, is that the amount of money that the government raises domestically is quite small compared to other countries.
“A lot of countries at that level will be raising closer to 15 percent of GDP, and Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world down at about 6 percent. And so, it is a huge challenge that when you want to fund infrastructure, health, education, all those things, that over time the tax collection, the domestic resources are going to have to go up quite a bit.
“That is a long-term effort, and I think partly by making sure the current resources are spent well like on primary healthcare, you gain the credibility that the citizens will say, okay, we want more of these things.
“If we do not raise the quality, you can get into a trap where they do not feel like paying the taxes actually has that much impact, and so they are not supportive of that.”
Mr. Gates also revealed his vision for Nigeria, saying: “If I had one wish for Nigeria, it would be that the quality and funding of the primary healthcare system would achieve the level of some other countries that are lower-income, but have done a better job with the primary healthcare system. So, it definitely is doable.
“In Nigeria, for a lot of the work we do there, we are partnered with Aliko Dangote, who helps us understand who the good partners are, and exactly how we can reach out to groups like the Traditional Leaders, and get them involved in these efforts as well.
“I do a regular phone call with six of the Governors in the North of Nigeria, to talk about the statistics on their primary healthcare system, getting the workers there, getting the vaccine supply right, getting the mothers to show up, so that we get antenatal care to be better, we get vaccination rates to be better.
“And it is really the digital tools that let us, you know, every time we meet and talk, we have a sense of okay, what is gone well in the last six months, what has not, and what do we need to change.”