Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has pledged its cooperation with the Ministry of Finance on Project Light House, which its steering committee was inaugurated at the weekend by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to help government’s revenue drive.
Project Light House is designed to dwell on data mining and analytics techniques to identify tax defaulters, establish their tax liabilities and send notifications to appropriate authorities for necessary action.
Already, the initiative which aggregates data from multiple sources, including bank accounts, land registry records, company registration data, tax filings, Customs records and asset ownership records had as at June last year identified a batch of over 130,000 high net worth individuals and companies whose tax records are not up to date due to detected underpayments.
In pledging SEC’s support to the initiative, its acting Director-General, Ms. Mary Uduk, also commended the minister on the initiative.
A statement by the SEC Head of Public Communications, Efe Ebelo, stated that Uduk emphasised the need for collaboration among relevant agencies to assist the government in its revenue generation, adding that Project Lighthouse is a positive step in that direction. “It is clear that data and information will certainly aid the generation of more revenue and in the long run, all agencies will be better for it as there will be more resources for government to carry out development
“Data gathering and sharing are the way to go especially in this digital age, as when there is available data, information can be shared, and that will increase compliance level as well as improve revenue generation,” the SEC DG said.
Uduk noted that low revenue generation was a source of worry, adding that if the government does not meet its revenue generation targets, it would be difficult to provide critical infrastructure that would encourage investment in the country.
She, therefore, pledged the full co-operation of the SEC to ensure that relevant data are made available when needed by the committee.
At the inauguration of the Project Light House steering committee, the minister had stated that one of the key economic policy objectives of the current administration, as contained in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), is improving the overall federal government revenues by targeting and increasing revenues from non-oil revenue sources.