July 19, 2020 / 4:27 PM / 15 days ago

Nigeria's revenues rise in June on higher oil, tax receipts

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria’s gross revenues rose to 653.35 billion naira ($1.7 billion) in June from 517.8 billion naira in May due to higher crude and tax receipts, accountant general Ahmed Idris said, as oil prices recovered from April’s crash.

The coronavirus outbreak early this year prompted a sharp fall in oil prices, Nigeria’s main export, slashing government revenues, weakening its currency and creating a large financing gap for the country.

The global benchmark Brent LCOc1 has since recovered to about $43 a barrel from a 21-year low below $16 in April.

OPEC member Nigeria relies on crude oil sales for two-thirds of government revenue.

The government generated 42.83 billion naira from exchange rate gains, it said in a statement. Income from crude sales and value added tax (VAT) made up the bulk of gross revenues.

Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed has pushed for the central bank to unify its multiple exchange rates so that the government can generate more naira from its crude receipts.

In February, Nigeria increased VAT to 7.5% from 5% to boost revenues, seen among the lowest in the world. Lower government revenue could worsen Nigeria’s debt to revenue ratio this year from a year earlier.

Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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