By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has urged Government Agencies to recognize the current financial priorities of the nation and cut their costs, eliminate wastages and block revenue leakages.
In her address titled ‘Business of Government’ at a one day workshop on “Compliance with Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 (As Amended) and Presidential Executive Order No.002 of 18th May, 2017 held at the Federal Ministry of Finance Auditorium for heads of Public Revenue Generating Agencies (PRGA).
The Minister warned agency heads that under the President Muhammadu Bauhari led administration, ‘Every Naira Counts’ and that “whether funds were generated from oil or from fees” the same standard of accountability for public money would apply.
Adeosun explained that many agencies were engaged in quasi commercial activities on behalf of government and were therefore expected to manage those organisations in a manner that maximized operating surplus.
She noted that in other countries like United Kingdom and United States of America, government functions such as VISA processing, Passport issuance, Company Registration and regulation were major revenue earners. However, in Nigeria many agencies were operating in such a manner that returned minimal funds to Government.
A statement by the Deputy Director, Press, Mrs Patricia Deworitshe quoted Adeosun to have said that the cause of these dwindling revenue include wastage, illegal recruitments, bloated expenses, loans to staff and use of expensive consultants.
The Minister reminded Agencies that a Circular had been issued which restricted allowable expenses in line with reforms occurring across Government businesses. She further informed agencies that compliance checks would be undertaken regularly to ensure that all agencies adhere to the new requirements.
She also commended a number of agencies that have improved considerably in their revenue remittance to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), these include the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) which had remitted over (N5BN) Five Billion Naira and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) which has significantly improved its remittances: She encouraged other agencies to urgently review their operational cost and revenue with a view to increase remittances to Government coffers.
She informed the participants that the Ministry of Finance planned to publish the performance of agencies.
The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, also advised the Agencies to use Professional Treasury Officers in accounting proceedings to ensure efficiency in line with International Public Sector Accounting.
Former Accountant General of the Federation, Chief Kayode Naiyeju encouraged heads of agencies to look inward and be more creative in generating revenue for the government.