By James Emejo
The federal government has said plans has been concluded to deploy directors of finance and accounts to selected federal government’s owned enterprises (FGOEs) to help improve revenue performance, ensure transparency and prevent further leakages in accruals.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the initiative which is still on pilot phase involved 10 FGOEs including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Other are the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Nigeria Shippers Council and Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).
Speaking Tuesday at the opening of an orientation programme for the revenue directors, which was organised by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), the minister said government enterprises have huge potentials and capacity for revenue generation if properly managed to significantly improve the revenue base of the federal government.
She said: “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 the continuous reliance oil revenue would mean that public expenditures will always dwindle by the shock in the global oil market price which is not within government’s control.
Ahmed said one of the possible solutions was to look into the non-oil revenues, take advantage of the potentials and make it robust.
She expressed optimism 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.
The minister said the directors will in the course of the discharge of their functions be involved in the revenue operations of the FGOEs, have better understanding of business processes and operations of the enterprises and cause improved transparency and accountability in their revenue reporting.
She said they are also expected to seek for opportunities and avenues for revenue improvements, which is the ultimate aim of the government, adding that the discharge of these duties will be aided with the deployment of information technology.
Ahmed further pointed out that 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.
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, said the only solution to the serious fiscal challenges facing the country is to diversify from the volatile oil revenue and look inward into the non-oil revenues with special attention on the FGOEs.
He said the development is in line with the circular from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) dated October 16, 2018 on revenue performance framework for FGOEs.
He said: “The vision of this initiative is to achieve transparency and accountability of government revenue with special focus on FGOEs, improved revenue performance and ultimately to provide sustainable source of funding for government budget execution.”
The initiative will further ensure that government enterprises remit appropriate operating surpluses into the federation account.