From Nduka Chiejina, Abuja
Directors of finance and accounts are to be deployed in revenue-generating agencies owned by Federal Government, it was learnt on Tuesday.
The directors will today conclude a two-day orientation ahead of their redeployment to select revenue-generating Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs).
Their mandate, when deployed, would be to monitor revenue generation by the agencies and ensure such earnings are accurately remitted into government coffers.
They would, among others, block revenue leakages, payment of salaries above the approved limit and non-remittance of unspent funds by the affected agencies.
The agencies are: the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); Nigeria Customs Service; Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR); Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN); Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC); Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigeria Shippers Council and Nigerian Port Authority.
Speaking at the orientation programme organised by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) for revenue directors, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha said government wanted to “post Professional Treasury Officers to select FGOEs to among others enable the treasury to have a better understanding of the business processes and operations of the FGOEs”.
Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed urged the directors to be involved in the operations of the agencies by having better understanding of their business processes in the course of discharging their functions.
Besides, the minister urged the directors to improve transparency and accountability in revenue reporting by the FGOEs.
She said: “An important sector with huge potentials is the revenue generation by the Federal Government Owned Entities. You may all wish to know that analysis of budgets of some of the Federal Government Owned Entities shows that these FGOEs have the capacities, if properly managed, to significantly improve the revenue base of the federal government.
“The continuous reliance on oil would mean that our public expenditures will always be dwindled by the shock in the global oil market price which is not within our control. One of the possible solutions is to look into the non-oil revenues, take advantage of the potentials and make it robust.
“The government has seen the results of the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) through the Finance Act 2019 and efforts in diversifying the revenue base of government by the revenue generating agencies.”
The deployment of the directors is in compliance with a Presidential directive on the approved Revenue Performance Management Framework for FGOEs.
Mrs. Ahmed further said: “The government is increasingly concerned with the dwindling revenue profile and this trend has to be quickly arrested particularly with Key revenue generating agencies of the government.”
Ahmed urged the directors “to ensure strict adherence to extant rules and regulations in the areas of compliance to approved budget and due process mechanism in procurement and payments”.
According to her, information technology would be deployed to assist the directors.
Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) Idris Ahmed said the orientation would equip the participants with necessary skills to carry out their duties.
Ahmed said: “The policy is a reform initiative aimed at generating more revenue and associated remittance into the government treasury and to also improve the operational performance of all GOEs.
“A number of GOEs remit less operating surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund than is required by law and/or financial regulations.
“To arrive at this decision, the government identified challenges in revenue administration and management to include: non remittance of operating surplus by major revenue generating agencies; bloated expenditure by agencies at the stage of budget preparation with the view to generating and spending IGR, often reporting deficit balance in the income and expenditure statement; non-disclosure of revenue sources by MDAs.
- Payment of salaries and allowances not approved by National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission or the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)
- Use of agents and consultants in the collection of public revenue by contracting out responsibility of tax collection to agents with the result that agents endeavour to optimise their profit at the expense of both the government and the taxpayer;
- Connivance with external auditors by some organisations to prepare different audited financial statements with a view to avoiding tax payment or presenting operating deficit position in their income and expenditure statements
- Poor capacity and limited training exposure of tax officials and accountants of the treasury, engaged in revenue monitoring including the computation of operating surpluses.