The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, says Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Federal Government agencies should be given more revenue targets and probably have their tenures tied to it.

She said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the launch of the template for calculating operating surplus by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

Adeosun was represented by Mr Kyari Dikwa, the Secretary, Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA).

According to Adeosun, the call has become necessary as in the last two decades, the nation has not met up to 50 per cent of the revenue target set for independent revenue.

“The question is why is that so? Before the budget is prepared, there are bilateral discussions between the MDAs and the Budget Office of the Federation (BOF), and some other agencies on what they should generate.

“But we realised that the targets are still not being met.’’

She also called for a review of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, (FRA) 2007, to provide for sanctions and incentives so that by giving incentives and sanctions there would be an improvement in revenue generation.

“I also recommend that there is the need for cost of collection and it is in line with the constitution.

“For every revenue generating agency, there is a cost of collection and you will realise that with this they will meet their targets.

“You can see that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), are meeting their targets because of such incentives on collection.’’

Adeosun said that many MDAs go outside the confines of their mandates to donate what should make up their operating surpluses to political parties and charity organisations and later come up to declare zero balance as surplus.

This, she said necessitated the reason for the development of the template so MDAs could know what constituted their surpluses and what should be retained as general reserve funds for the organisation.

The template was launched by Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who was represented by Mr Willaims Alo, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, OSGF.

Mr Victor Muruako, the Acting Chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), said that the template was developed with inputs from the initial 31 corporations in the schedule of the Act.

He said that development of the template was also in line with the policy of the Federal Government in blocking loopholes endangering revenue collection.

“This process is not targeted at putting agencies in the schedule of the Act for the mere sake of raising revenue for government, but justified by the fact that there is a designed empirical means of ensuring that agencies are not short changed.’’

He explained that operating surplus is the difference between the income and expenditure of a scheduled corporation/MDA as derived from its audited financial statements.

“Where the difference is positive, then it is surplus, but if it is negative it is a deficit.

“The FRA, 2007 in Sections 22 to 24 requires scheduled corporation/MDA to remit 80 per cent of their surplus into the Federal Government CRF and keep 20 per cent in general reserve fund.’’

He also said that the commission was working on a template for determining Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Mr Eze Onyekpere, Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), said that if the template was used meticulously, the nation would eventually come to a time when it would not have to borrow money to fund the budget.

“We will come to a situation where we may no longer be looking outside for what we are going to borrow to fund the deficit in the budget.

“This is because a good part of the money that we budget for can be funded from our own internal resources which will make whatever we do sustainable.

“That will be good for our country and we will have a better economy,’’ he said.

Prof. Ken Ife, Chief Economic Strategist, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), advised that in the FRC’s monitoring and evaluation framework, it should accommodate aspects for monitoring compliance.

He said that government should be run as a business, adding that when that is done, people would be happy to pay their taxes because they could see dividends for doing so.

FRC was established by the FRA to provide for prudent management of the nation’s resources.