Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun
has disclosed that the Federation Account is witnessing improved revenue inflow since the removal of fuel subsidy from an average of N650 billion monthly to over N1 trillion in, the last four months.
The Federation Account is the account into all federally-collected revenues are collected.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced the removal of subsidy on premium motor spirit (PMS), popularly known as fuel during his inauguration on May 29, 2023.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day retreat for the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Delta State Government, with the theme “Creating Resilient Economy through Diversification of the Nation’s Revenue, ” Edun who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Finance, Okokon Ekanem Udo, stated that the choice of the retreat’s theme reflected the directive by the Tinubu administration to domestic revenue mobilisation and very timely.
The retreat is holding at the Dome Event Centre, Asaba, Delta State.
A statement issued by the Director (Press and Public Relations), Mr. Stephen Kilebi quoted the minister as saying that the economic reforms the administration has embarked on since its inception in May 2023 clearly outlined right steps to transformation of the country’s economy.
He added that, in less than six months of the administration, the country has witnessed the introduction of many reforms, including petroleum subsidy removal, fiscal and monetary policies reforms aimed at removing multiple taxation and streamlining/simplifying tax administration as well as achieving single foreign market that will ensure willing buyers and sellers.
Those reforms, according to the minister, were applauded not only by the experts within the Nigerian economy but also international development partners such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others, noting that, these reforms were what Nigeria as a country needed right now to move from its perennial problems.
He explained that the government was not oblivious of the untold hardships faced by Nigerians following the removal of petroleum subsidy and the harmonisation of the exchange rate, noting that “all the sacrifices will not be in vain as government is bent on ensuring that the economy bounces back to normal as we continue to consolidate the recovery efforts on achieving inclusive economic growth and development.”
While commending the Delta State government for their hospitality, Edun said: ” I am optimistic that the retreat will leverage on the conducive environment of the good people and government of Delta State to optimise the achievements of the retreat’s objectives.”
“The federal government as always, will remain committed to the fiscal and monetary reforms that the administration has started, which are aimed at providing enabling business environment, diversifying the revenue base of the economy, creating fiscal space for investment in critical infrastructure and ensure macroeconomic stability.”
He stressed that, “together, we shall collectively build a resilient economy for Nigerian.”
Earlier, the Delta State Governor Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori who was represented by the Deputy Governor of the state, Monday Onyeme, in his keynote address said that FAAC members were committed and dedicated to their duty and have been doing a wonderful job in enhancing revenue accruals or inflows into the Federation Account, which has benefited the three tiers of government.
This, according to him, was especially true in the case of the oil-producing states of the federation where several wrong computations are being corrected and refunds made.
He noted that “There is still much work to be done in this direction, particularly on the payments of 13% derivation to oil producing states, since the coming into force of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).”
The governor added that, since the implementation of the PIA a lot of concerns have been raised by stakeholders of this sector in respect of the new roles of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) as it effects inflows of revenue into the Federation Account, stating that, it is his hope that this retreat will address these concerns and lay them to rest permanently.
He maintained that the operation of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has been largely governed by the FIRS Act 2007, but with the introduction of the Finance Act of 2019, 2020 and 2021 and other responsibilities assigned to the Service, he expressed the hope that the retreat would enable stakeholders to obtain a better understanding of the operations of the FIRS in the light of the need for economic diversification.
He advised: “We must do away with the current practice of substituting long-term development strategies for short-term spending pressures, often out of political expediency”, adding that” no magic formula to diversification”.
According to him what is needed was to put the necessary policy and institutional framework that will facilitate the diversification of the revenue base by enhancing non-oil exports such as agricultural products, manufactured goods and services.
The governor noted that a lot was expected from the government State Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability for Results (SFTAS), the introduction of State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER), the operation of the Nigeria Custom Service and many other initiatives/reforms which will boost business activities and contribute positively to the nation’s revenue.
Oborevwori explained that economic diversification must move beyond rhetorics, adding that, concrete, measurable steps need to be taken now to facilitate non-oil exports, expand the revenue base, and make economic diversification a reality.
The Permanent Secretary, Finance, Okokon Ekanem Udo represented by the Director Home Finance, Federal Ministry of Finance, Ali Mohammed in his welcome address said ,”This year’s retreat is indeed apt and timely considering the myriad of economic challenges currently bedeviling our dear nation, as a result of over reliance on oil as the country’s major source of revenue”.
He explained that the retreat is a veritable platform that would avail members the opportunity to reflect over the past, discuss extensively on the nation’s current economic realities and brainstorm on ways to diversify Nigeria’s revenue base, with focus on mobilizing domestic revenue, eliminating wasteful spending, prioritizing expenditure and intensifying efforts in plugging revenue leakages.
He emphasized that the timing of the retreat would enable FAAC realize its full objective of on-boarding the new Honourable Commissioners of Finance and robbing of minds on pertinent issues bearing on prudent financial management in particular and the economy at large, as well as create ample room for social interaction in a more relaxed atmosphere.
The Permanent Secretary further disclosed that the State Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability for Results programme is ending in December 2023 and to sustain the success recorded under the initiative and ensure continued support to the States, disclosed that the Federal Government in collaboration with the World Bank will soon commence the implementation of the State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER), which would run from 2024 – 2026, adding ,”Currently, the approval of abridged External Borrowing Plan by the National Assembly is being awaited to usher in SABER effectiveness. He concluded by saying “We have one county, let us work together to minimize waste, enhance domestic revenue mobilisation and optimize the utilization of resources to ensure the wellbeing of all Nigerians”.
The retreat is being attended by the Accountant-General of the Federation, the 36 commissioners for finance, accountants general of states, representatives of the World Bank, FAAC, and management of Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the Auditor General for the Federation (OAGF), among others.