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Minister Challenges Accountants On Wastages, Leakages In Govt’s Revenue

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The Coordinating Minister
for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has challenged accountants to address leakages in government revenue and wastages in expenditure pattern.
Okonjo-Iweala, represented by her Permanent Secretary, Mrs Nwobia Daniel, gave the charge at the opening of a two-day retreat in Kaduna.
The retreat was for Directors of Finance and Accounts and Heads of Internal Audit in Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The minister said the retreat was to remind them on the importance of their roles in the government’s transformation agenda.
“The Federal Government therefore, expects that the retreat will discuss issues that will tackle the challenges of leakages in government revenue and wastages in expenditure patterns in MDAs.
According to her, the participants are also expected to come up with strategies to ensure prudence in management of limited financial resources available for government’s use.
“At the end of the retreat, deliberate policies aimed at minimising corruption and strengthening the economy through efficient treasury management should be suggested to fine-tune the transformation agenda, “she urged.
She noted that the theme, “Transforming of Treasury Management in Nigeria,” was apt and timely, as it would address the increasing responsibilities and dwindling revenue of the government.
Okonjo-Iweala said the challenges confronting successful implementation of the Public Financial Management (PFM) includes: corruption, high cost of governance and inadequate legislation.
Others are non-compliance with due process mechanism, inadequate ownership of the reforms by public servants, poor motivation and emerging public performance reporting system.
She emphasised that the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) was central and strategic to the PFM reform.
The reforms cover “Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS).
“Development of National Chart of Accounts (COA), Modernisation of the Internal Audit Functions, Upgrading of Federal Treasury Academy and Adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAs),” she said.
The minister said the reforms were meant to ensure efficient public expenditure management, curb corruption, improve government revenue, enhance transparency and accountability.
She, therefore, advised the office of the Accountant-General to seek effective inter agency interaction to bring all government revenue and expenditure under its safety net.
“An independent revenue collection averaging 50-55 per cent of budgeted figures is no longer acceptable.”
She also tasked the participants to brainstorm and recommend strategies that would enhance revenue collection, as well as assist government take right decisions for effective transformation of the treasury system.
On his part, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Jonah Otunla said 36 MDAs out of the 394 had been trained on Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).
He said that the remaining 358 would be trained in batches.
On the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), Otunla said that sensitisation and training were ongoing in the MDAs on the new format of reporting financial transactions of government.
He said the IPSAs cash basis would commence from 2014 financial year, while the accrual basis would come into operation by 2016.
He charged the participants to make recommendations on issues bodering on treasury management such as improving revenue base of government and addressing gap among treasury accountants.
Otunla also challenged them to suggest institutional restructuring of the nation’s treasury for improved performance, ways to address challenges of cash planning and expenditure discipline and forum for efficient public financial management.

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Nigeria, Saudi Arabia Collaborate On Air Safety

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Bodies involved in investigating air accidents in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU) to share knowledge and improve air safety in both countries’ airspaces.
The MoU was signed in Abuja, Monday, aa part of events marking the ongoing 14th International Civil Aviation Organisation Air Services Negotiation event tagged “ICAN 2022”.
Speaking to the media shortly after signing the agreement, the Director-General, Accident Investigation Bureau of Saudi Arabia, Abdulelah Felimban, said the intention is to promote safety and prevention of the reoccurrence of air accidents.
“We came to meet our counterpart in Nigeria, the Accident Investigation Bureau of Nigeria, to open the channels of communication, cooperation, sharing experiences, learning from each other and benefiting from the capabilities that each of us has”, he said
He stated further that the purpose of investigation is to ensure and promote air safety.
“Our business is to collect data, evidences, analyse them, and put forward recommendations to make our skies safer”, he stated.
Also, the Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer, Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria, Akin Olateru, said there was one aviation in the world, noting that the rule of the game was cooperation.
“There is no one country that is an island. We need to work together as a team to enhance safety.
“Saudi Arabia will help us in human capital development, we can engage ideas and its all about improving safety for the flying public”, he said.

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Minister Tasks SON To Improve Quality Of Local Products

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The Federal Government has charged Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to ensure that good produced or imported into Nigeria can compete globally.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, said this in Lagos at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of SON.
Adebayo, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Evelyn Ngige, urged the agency to stick to its role in maintaining standards to support industrial and facilitate trade, while  promoting investments in the nation’s economy.
Ngige said the government was aware of the innovations by SON in making access to the agency by business owners efficient and effective.
“I want to add here that SON has a vital role to play in facilitating trade and ensuring that local goods and services compete favourably in international market by guaranteeing that excellence is maintained across all production lines in the country.
“This is even more important now that African Continental Free Trade Area has opened up the domestic market to all commerce in the African continent”, she said.
She charged the agency to remain committed to ensuring quality and continuous improvement of all goods produced locally or imported.
According to her, “As Vice Chairman of the PEBEC, I am well aware of the remarkable innovation of the SON that makes businesses access its services in an efficient and effective manner.
“This has resulted in the consistent and regular high ranking of SON by PEBEC. The constant high ranking of SON is heart-warming, especially to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Investment”.
She said the 50 years of SON had been remarkable in promoting value in every aspect of industrial production in Nigeria, and also ensuring that products imported into the country were of high quality.
Earlier, the Director General of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, had said the agency’s last two years concentrated on some critical areas in the industry.
“SON has ensured faithful implementation of the Nigerian National Standardisation Strategy as the framework of the development and publication of National Standards and increasing our technical competence in conformity assessment services through the accreditation of our Product Certification Department”, he said.

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Nigeria’s Oil Production Increases To 1.6m Barrels

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Crude oil production in Nigeria is gradually improving, following an increase to about 1.6 million barrels.
The Chief Upstream Investment Officer, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Upstream Investment Management Services, Bala Wunti, who disclosed this at the 11th Practical Nigerian Content forum in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, said Nigeria’s oil production as at Tuesday was 1. 6 million barrels per day, from 937, 000 barrels per day reported in September.
Wunti stated that the output increase was a result of the government’s rectangular approach to the fight against crude oil theft.
“Crude theft affects all architecture that funds the country. When the oil theft reached its peak, everything including gas production was affected,” he said.
He continued that, “One, we have security agencies in which the Navy, the police, and everyone within that space was involved. The second is the regulators angle. At this stage, all regulators are made to fully be part of the efforts.
“Third is the operators’ angle. And, of course, all operators were involved. The fourth angle is the community angle in which all impacted communities have to be brought under the umbrella of a structured arrangement in the collective effort against crude oil theft.
“In all, these efforts were able to do three things; Detect, deter and respond appropriately.
“As at today, oil production is at 1.59 million barrels per day,” he said.
Recall that Nigeria has been unable to meet OPEC production quota in the last one year.
At the September Federation Account Allocation Committee, an NNPC Limited presentation said Nigeria lost as much as 8.14 million barrels in August.
The Tide’s source had reported how the contribution of the oil sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country fell to 5.7 per cent in the third quarter of this year, according to data sourced from the National Bureau of Statistics.
The Bureau, in its GDP Sector Report, had said the oil sector’s contribution of 5.7 per cent in Q3, 2022, was a decline when compared to a 6.3 per cent real GDP contribution recorded in Q2-2022.
The report stated that Nigeria’s average crude oil production in Q3-2022 was 1.2 million barrels per day (including condensates), lower than Q3-2021’s 1.6 million barrels per day, a 23.6 per cent decline.
A statement by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, last Wednesday, said the excess crude account crashed by 89 per cent in the last eight years, moving from $4.1bn in November 2014 to $472,513 in the same period of 2022.The balance as of November 23, 2022, stood at $472,513.64.
The account has depleted in the last eight years as a result of lack of inflows, oil market vagaries and the country’s revenue crunch, according to economists.
Speaking to The Tide’s source when the Federal Government made the  announcement, Professor of Economics at Covenant University, Ogun State, Jonathan Aremu, said, “It is a simple fact that when you spend money from an account and you are not adding to it, it will deplete”.
According to him, “For you to increase the ECA, the oil price must rise above the budgeted price. If it does not, nothing goes in.
“Also, if what you are spending is higher than what goes in, it depletes. This is the situation”.

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