Govt revenue may decline by 25% this quarter

23 March 2015, Lagos – Nigeria’s federally collected revenue is likely to decline further by about 25 per cent this quarter, the chief executive officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited (FDC), Mr. Bismarck Rewane has predicted.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance

Rewane said the declining revenue will serve as a wake-up call for Nigeria.

The FDC boss stated this at a breakfast meeting on e-filing organised by SystemSpecs Limited for stakeholders held in Lagos recently.

According to Rewane, oil and gas constitute over 60 per cent of Nigeria’s fiscal revenue, oil accounts for 94 per cent of Nigeria’s export and approximately 67 per cent of current account receipts in the country. He noted that a 58 per cent drop in oil prices coincided with approximately 18 per cent decline in government revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Decline in prices of other commodity is unlikely to cushion the effect of lower oil exports on the balance of trade, Rewane added.

Commenting on how to improve government’s revenue, he identified blocking of leakages through the use of information communication technology (ICT). He also noted that the ICT has the potential to transform tax revenue collection.

“ICT is just one of a number of tools to increase tax revenue collection, improve services to tax payers. Accessible services at no cost to the taxpayer can enhance take-up. Incentives can encourage compliance. Capacity building develops expertise. Strong communication campaigns ensure acceptance and understanding,” he added.

According to him, whenever revenue declines, people tend to be more efficient and efficiency is most prominent in the payment and settlement system.

Rewane further added that the more efficient payment services are, the more the number of transactions, and the more the society gets out of it.

“The external and internal balances of an economy would depend almost entirely on the efficiency of its payment system,” he added.

On his part, the Managing Director, Systemspecs, Mr. John Obaro revealed that e-filing, which is driven by the Remitta platform, would help boost government’s revenue.

Remitta, developed by Systemspecs was adopted by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the payments and collection of funds.

“With Remitta, you can automatically submit matching schedules when you pay pensions to PFAs. For example, tax authorities or operatives. All these are done electronically. People can make payments to another party using their credit or debit cards.

“It is a single platform which allows you make payments to various people and at the same time on the same platform, you empower people who want to make payment to you to pay through any channel that is convenient for them,” Obaro said.

Furthermore, he said: “Remitta is connected to all core banking applications of all the banks in Nigeria today. You can define approval limits for people who want to make payments with designated officers who you can define you rules to.”

“With Remitta you can make all your payments from the same platform, for each payment you have, you get a comprehensive proof of payment delivered to the beneficiary and you can easily track all payments irrespective of the funding banks.”

– This Day

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