The Accountant-General of
the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris has assured of the Federal Government’s commitment to delivering on its promises to Nigerinas.
Idris stated this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, recently.
He said that although the Muhammadu Buhari administration was facing a lot of challenges, it was committed to living up to its responsibilities.
“Nigerians have been made a lot of promises and I believe Mr President is aware and is passionate to deliver on those promises.
“Challenges are there, challenges to do with the economy, challenges to do with the revenue but gradually these challenges are being overcome.
“By the time we begin to see the benefits of some of these loans that the government has taken, of course projects and programmes as promised will begin to roll out.
“And I believe this will start particularly when the budget is finally sealed and approved.
“Nigerians are right to even look for all these because it is a right to all citizens and I believe expectations of Nigerians must be met.
“And we are ready and we will leave no stone unturned to make sure that government and Mr President have delivered on their promises and gradually we will see the benefits.”
He pleaded with Nigerians to be patient stating that the economic policies of the administration were geared towards ensuring transparency and accountability in governance.
According to him, committees are established by the Ministry of Finance to ensure transparency in what comes to government by way of
operating surplus from agencies that are supposed to generate revenue.
Idris said that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was also working towards ensuring that all revenue accruable to the government was recovered especially in the current era of diversification from crude oil.
On the issue of ghost workers, he said that the ministry was working through the OAGF to weed them out.
“We are now going ahead to use Bank Verification Number (BVN) recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to clarify
and to ascertain names of those benefitting salary from the Federal Government.
Refinery’s Rehab: PHRC Boss Seeks Host Communities’ Support
The managing director of Port Harcourt refinery company (PHRC), Ahmed Dikko, says the support of host communities will contribute to the success of the rehabilitation of the refinery.
In May, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) commenced the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery in Rivers state.
This was after the federal executive council (FEC) approved the sum of $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation.
The repair, which will be executed by Tecnimont SPA, an Italian company, will be done in three phases of 18, 24 and 44 months, respectively.
Dikko, who said the PHRC is already engaging the host communities, expressed optimism that they will support the project.
“Host communities’ engagement is one of the key priorities for the success of this project and PHRC management recognises this right from the earlier days of the award of this contract and has done a lot in this regard through the public affairs,” he said.
“The first is to put out the information correctly about this project, and the second is to manage the expectations of the communities.
“The approach that we are using is to get the communities to buy into the project and be part of it. So much has been covered and I’m delighted with the way we are going. We are going to have the support of the communities.
“The contractors themselves have nominated a community representative that is working closely with our public affairs team in the manner to ensure that the right information is given to the communities.
“Everybody is part of the rehabilitation project, and in whatever department you are, you must contribute your own to make sure that we truly succeed.
“Whether you are in the human resources, engineering, or admin department; there is a role for you in the project, and I’m happy that the staff have taken it on, and are looking forward to the actual commencement of activities physically.
“We have gone further again to keep knowledge sharing so that everybody will understand clearly what the project is about, and also the scope of work that we want to do. That way, we’ll have a role to play as it goes on.”
Dikko also said the rehabilitation of the refinery will be completed as scheduled, adding that the contractors have been given what they need to get the project done.
“It is not a small thing knowing full well that all specs of all the equipment and everything therein that will make the contractor succeed have to be given; all the documentation that we have. So, we have done that; we’ve given thousands of documents to the contractor,” he said.
Godwin Emefiele: Bad Bank Debtors Frustrating Loan Recovery
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said that recalcitrant debtors have exploited the lack of prioritisation of credit recovery matters by the Nigerian judicial system to frustrate debt recovery efforts of financial institutions in the country.
Emefiele stated this at a workshop for judicial officers on recent reforms of the banking financial services sectors in Nigeria held in Abuja.
The Governor was represented by the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, Aisha Ahmad.
According to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), out of a total of N4.158trn bad loans, it has so far recovered over N1.48trn.
It still has 7,902 outstanding obligors with a total outstanding loan of above N3.1trn, while 350 obligors alone account for over N2.053trn, with more than 70 per cent of the total outstanding amount.
Emefiele disclosed the plan by the CBN to engage stakeholders in the Judiciary to enforce The Special Tribunal for the Enforcement and Recovery of Eligible Loans.
The Special Tribunal which is a provision of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act was introduced to accelerate credit recovery processes and enforcement of collateral rights.
Speaking on the significance of the BOFIA 2020, the apex bank boss said that the Act is expected to reinvigorate the Nigerian banking sector as it will engender a sound and stable financial system that will support sustainable growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
He said that the BOFIA 2020 also strengthens the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism Framework by mandating regulated entities to comply with AML/CFT and cyber security regulations.
Emefiele also pointed out that the BOFIA contains provisions to effectively manage unclaimed funds or abandoned property in dormant accounts maintained with banks, specialised banks and other financial institutions, as well as recovery tools for failing banks.
BOFIA 2020 also provides enhanced recovery and resolution tools for failing banks.
Diversification Of Nigeria’s Economy On Course – FIRS
The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, has argued that the diversification of the Nigerian economy is on course.
Speaking at the ‘Public Presentation And Breakdown Of The Highlights Of The 2022 Appropriation Bill’, Nami, stated that 4.2 trillion Naira had been collected so far in 2021 in revenue, with about 3.3 trillion Naira, that is over 77 percent of the total collection from the non-oil sector.
“To address the issue of Nigeria not diversifying its economy, from a tax perspective, you will discover that we are actually diversifying the economy,” Nami stated.
“The total collection we have up to 31 September, which we have not fully reconciled with the CBN and the Nigerian Customs is about 4.2 trillion Naira, and from this amount, oil-related taxes accounted for only 22 per cent which is 950 billion Naira only, while the non-oil taxes we have generated within that period is 3.3 trillion Naira.”
Recall that President Buhari had acknowledged during his 2022 Budget presentation speech to the National Assembly that, “On a positive note, we surpassed the non-oil taxes target by eleven (11) per cent in aggregate. The sustained improvement in non-oil taxes indicates that some of our revenue reforms are yielding positive results. We expect further improvement in revenue collections later in the year as more corporate entities file their tax returns and we accelerate the implementation of our revenue reforms.”
Muhammad Nami noted that though the potentials of the country’s non-oil revenues were being harnessed, it was however not adequate.
“To discuss about the taxes that are being paid in the country and to say whether they are adequate or not, I want to believe one, they are not adequate.
“We assume that we are a rich country, I don’t think that is correct. We only have the potential to be rich, because we have a very huge population of about 200 million”, Nami stated
The FIRS Executive Chairman emphasized that the best way to fund budgets globally was through payment of taxes by citizens particularly personal income tax which is a direct tax as against indirect taxes; he further noted that personal income taxes in other countries account for over 50% of the funds available to their respective governments for funding expenditure.
“The number of billionaires in Lagos alone are more than the number of billionaires in the whole of South Africa but yet what Lagos State generated as Personal Income Tax was just less than N400bn in 2020.
“So if we don’t pay these taxes, there is no way the government will be able to provide the social amenities required, the critical infrastructure required for the wellbeing of the country,” Nami stated.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed Shamsuna, in reply to a question noted that there was a social contract between tax payers and authorities and that government revenue that was generated was being applied to funding its expenditure at all the three tiers of government.
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