Why We Can’t Hit NASS N3trn Annual Revenue Target – Blueprint Newspapers Limited
Strong indications emerged on Monday that the revenue targeted for funding the 2022 budget of N17.126 billion may not be realized as some of the revenue-generating agencies have complained about different forms of charges.
It was even while the Director General of the National Food and Drug Administration Control Agency (NAFDAC), Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, lamented that the agency’s 2018, 2019 and 2020 budgets did not have not been adopted by the National Assembly, which has led to the warehousing of the income generated by it for capital. spent.
Agencies’ complaints about meeting revenue targets were highlighted during the day-long interactive session that Senate leaders and its finance committee had with them.
The first to complain was Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NIS), who said that certain provisions of the Finance Act 2022 deprived Customs of its operational mandate over certain revenues .
He specifically cited sections 22 and 61(a) of the law, which prevent customs from collecting certain taxes like import duties.
“Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Distinguished Senators, thank you for hosting this interactive session on the need for improvement by all revenue-generating agencies with respect to internally generated revenue and funding for the 2022 budget.
“However, let me point out to this assembly that certain provisions of the 2022 finance law prevent customs from generating such revenue.
“Section 22 of the Finance Act 2022 seeks to amend Section 68 (1), (2), (3), (4) and (6) of the Federal Revenue Service Act by allowing law to prevail over any other law with respect to tax administration, assessment, accounting, collection and enforcement of taxes and duties due to the Federal Government and the Federation of Nigeria.
“When the law was signed, it did not clearly indicate the extent and scope of the taxes and levies in question. We are aware that the taxes and levies under the responsibility of the FIRS are income tax, personal income tax, capital gains tax, VAT, etc.
“However, the amendment is so broad and open-ended that we in the Nigerian Customs Service considered it to have hindered our ability to collect levies and other collections.
“Our understanding of the provisions is that all other laws that required us to collect are inconsistent with the new law, so they are overturned. This means that the law that requires us to collect as revenue generating agencies is completely overturned. This means that we are not responsible for collecting royalties. If we don’t have the responsibility to collect, what are we going to discuss here.
“We have consulted with lawyers and the conclusion is that the law is confusing and if other revenue-generating agencies decide to act on the provisions, they may decide not to collect and levy,” Ali said.
In a similar submission, Prof. Aba George, Finance Director of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), said the 400 billion naira the agency was supposed to generate as annual revenue was being siphoned off by a UK-based company. Uni which managed most of its outsourced services and operations.
He said the outsourced services and operations contract awarded to the UK-based company on behalf of NIS in 2003 gives the government 33% of the revenue, immigration 7% while the remaining 60% is captured by the company.
“This is the 7th time we have filed this complaint in the Senate or the House of Representatives. Please save us from the hook of this company.
“The contract has been done without the knowledge of immigration since 2003 and those behind the renewal keep renewing it and robbing us of approximately $400 billion in revenue a year.
“This is a scam and a purely one-sided contract financially bleeding immigration and Nigeria on a yearly basis,” George lamented.
The Senate intervenes
Angered by the submission, Senate Speaker Ahmad Lawan ordered the chairman of the committee, Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos West), to summon the Ministry of Interior for all contract documents.
“It’s unacceptable. We can’t go on like this. We have to see the end of this contract in the national interest,” he said.
On the complaints filed by the customs boss, Lawan said, “I wonder why the Ministry of Finance is not there because we need their intervention now. Their presence here would have brought some clarification. We assumed that, since this was an executive bill, there were commitments between federal government agencies.
“We have also requested a public hearing so that we can X-ray him. You say you don’t have the legal mandate to collect taxes and that’s a chilling revelation.
“The Senate Finance Committee and the Department of Finance and other agencies would review the law. If it is established beyond reasonable doubt that we need to modify it, we will do so without delay.
“This will be the quickest amendment because we need you to raise more money for the federal government.”
In his own intervention, Senator Adeola said the section quoted by the Customs boss was not aimed at the agency.
“What necessitated this singular act was the result of an issue between the Revenue Mobilization and Public Finance Commission and the FIRS. There were clashes between them from time to time. Some activities of the RMFAC did not parallel the law that created it. We have found that the only way to make their roles explicit is through the budget law regarding the assessment and accounting of taxes.
“We discovered that RMFAC was visiting agencies to audit their tax accounts, which is not part of their responsibilities under the law that established RMFAC.
“The only agency charged with this responsibility is the FIRS. This is what this law seeks to address. We are prepared to review it again if other revenue-generating agencies feel that it has hindered them from fulfilling their responsibilities and we would modify it accordingly,” Adeola said.
NASS sets target N3trn
Earlier, Senate Speaker Lawan said government revenue-generating agencies were capable of generating and pouring N3 trillion naira into the federal government coffers every year if efforts were made to curb wasteful spending.
Lawan made this known in a speech to declare open an interactive session “on the need to improve the internally generated revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria and agency revenue projections as contained in the Appropriation Act 2022. “.
The meeting was between the Senate leadership and members of the government’s finance and revenue-generating agencies committee.
In his speech, Lawan said the purpose of the meeting was to explore ways to increase government revenue.
He said one of those ways was for the National Assembly to be rigid on raising revenue to reduce the country’s budget deficit and borrowing, as well as prevent wasteful spending by government agencies.
Lawan assured that the upper house would provide the necessary support through legislation to ensure revenue agencies operate to meet and exceed their targets.
He said: “In 2022, the National Assembly has rightly assumed that our public enterprises can generate up to 3 trillion naira if we are confident that we can achieve it and of course we monitor to block any possibility. unjustified expenditures by government agencies.
“But that doesn’t mean in any way that it will be some sort of inquiry into what you are doing, but encouragement of what you need to do. During this meeting and the following ones, it will not should be no restraint in discussions.
“When an agency feels hindered in any way in achieving its objective, it should say so, so that we are able to prescribe the right solutions for it to perform. As the National Assembly, let me say that the Senate in particular will strive to generate more and more revenue.
“We will be rigid; we will continue to insist, because we believe it is a safe and guaranteed way to reduce our deficit and our borrowing.
The lawmaker said the upper house’s desire to increase government coffers revenue would strengthen the economy and facilitate infrastructure development.
“This committee is being changed because Senate leaders think we can do a lot better and we’ve seen signs when last year some agencies exceeded expectations.
“So this is an opportunity for us to save and improve our economy and of course to ensure that Nigeria achieves more infrastructural development, which is the goal of this administration and every Nigerian.
“We believe that when you (the revenue agencies) generate money, we (the National Assembly) appropriate it. Caution is in order here, when we spend our money. And when we borrow, as the National Assembly has always tried to do, we borrow to deal with specific government projects and programs,” the Senate Speaker said.
And in his welcoming remarks, the chair of the committee, Senator Adeola, lamented the insufficient funds for the implementation of the policies and projects captured in the federal government’s 2022 budget.
He explained that the funds came in part from revenue generated by state-owned enterprises and other revenue sources independent of the federal government.
“There is an urgent need for everyone to be on deck to generate revenue for the government, as well as to prevent the misuse and leakage of these revenues for frivolous purposes not sanctioned by the laws of the National Assembly,” Adeola said.
He indicated that for the government to reduce and eliminate deficit budgeting associated with the national budget over the years, efforts must be made to minimize borrowing to finance projects.
Revenue agencies present at the interactive session include: National Agency for Scientific and Technical Infrastructure, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Iron and Steel Exploration Agency, Nigerian Postal Service, Lagos Teaching Hospital and the Nigeria Customs Service.
The others were the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, the Nigeria Prison Service, the Nigeria Maritime Academy, the National Agency for Food Administration and Control and Medicines (NAFDAC) and Abuja Geographical Information Systems (AGIS).
Also present were the Federal Capital Territory Administration, the Nigerians Power Commission, the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), the Ports Authority of Nigeria and the College aviation technology company Zaria.