By Emmanuel Elebeke
In a bid to cushion the effect of continued dwindling oil revenue, the Federal government says it is putting in place an Integrated Revenue Monitoring System in place to help the monitoring of the revenues of the Federal Government Owned Entities (FGOEs) online real-time to improve transparency and accountability.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said this at the orientation program for Directors of Revenue Tuesday in Abuja. She said the federal government is putting robust policies in place to maximize its non-oil revenue as it is increasingly concerned with the dwindling profile of Revenue, a trend she said has to be quickly arrested particularly with Key revenue generating agencies of the Government.
The minister noted that with revenue dwindling occasioned by shocks in the global oil market partly induced by the Corona Virus pandemic and production cuts, public expenditure has seriously taken a hit, adding that oil revenue has become an exogenous variable which is highly volatile.
She asserted that one of the possible solutions is to look into the non-oil revenues, take advantage of the potentials, and make it robust. “We have seen the results on the increase in VAT through the Finance Act 2019 and efforts in diversifying the revenue base of Government by the Revenue generating agencies.
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. It is in this light that the deployment of the Treasury Directors is considered expedient to the selected FGOEs as a pilot test,” she said.
To arrest the downward slide in remittances by key federal government-owned enterprises (FGOEs) to the federation account, the minister opined that the presence of Directors of Revenue at the FGOEs will ensure strict adherence to extant rules and regulations in the areas of compliance to approved budget and due process mechanism in procurement and payments.
She said “The Directors of Revenue, in the course of the discharge of their functions, shall be involved in the revenue operations of the FGOEs, have a better understanding of business processes and operations of the FGOEs, and cause improved transparency and accountability in revenue reporting by the FGOEs. In addition, they are expected to seek opportunities and avenues for revenue improvements which is the ultimate aim of the Government.”
She added that the Directors will be aided by the deployment of information technology. “The Integrated Revenue Monitoring System is being put in place to help the monitoring of the revenues of the FGOEs online real-time and to ensure its improved transparency and accountability,” she further said.
In his remarks, the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha said the issue of dwindling revenue has occupied the attention of Government, hence in 2018, a Revenue Performance Management Framework for Federal Government Owned Enterprises (FGOEs) was put in place and the President directed that his Office issue a Circular guide implementation.
He described the policy as 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.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) Ahmed Idris said the vision of the initiative is to achieve transparency and accountability of Government revenue with a special focus on FGOEs, improved revenue performance, and ultimately to provide a sustainable source of funding for Government budget execution.
While saying the idea is to boost revenue at all levels, the AGF said the Office will also “emphasis to them the need for accountability” as they will be given specific targets, objectives.
“They are expected to go and work on specific targets, specific framework, and a specific line of action. We already know what the FGOEs have been giving to the federal government, and we will build on that and explore better ways of generating more revenue.”
According to the AGF, with the present reality, there is a need to think outside the box At the point we are today, we all need to think outside the box and come up with implementation strategies that will have a positive impact in transforming our non-oil revenue sources of financing the budget. He, however, noted that “along the line, if there were infractions there is going to be sanctioned.”
He urged the Directors to participate actively, hoping that their passion and energy will be directed towards finding a sustainable solution to the dwindling revenue profile the country is facing.