Nigeria loses N1trn to non-remittance of operating surplus

*Minister of Budget & National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.

*Minister of Budget & National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.

15 May 2016, Abuja —- Nigeria may be losing over N1 trillion to non-remittance of operating surplus through deliberate wrong computations by agencies of government, direct diversion of funds, application of wrong accounting standards and the non-inclusive listing of all government corporations.

Acting Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Chief Victor C. Muruako, who made the disclosures when he led the management of the Commission on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Budget & National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma in Abuja yesterday, revealed that the Commission had so far caused over N360 billion operating surplus to be remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

According to the FRC chief, the Commission is ready to do more particularly with the falling oil earnings and the apparent need to diversify the economy to improve government revenue base.

In another forum in Abuja yesterday, the Federal Government said the era of non-tax compliance by government contractors is over as it declared a “no tax, no payment” policy for any company, which compliance status is in doubt, in the books of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun, to declare open the 18th Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), yesterday in Abuja, said that the administration has strengthened control and budget monitoring processes to ensure that the people get value for every kobo.

According to Buhari, the country had witnessed oil boom but did not benefit from it because of corruption, wastage, system inefficiency and leakages, as well as over-dependence on oil, which kept tax-to-Gross Domestic Product at paltry level of seven per cent

“Nigeria is already witnessing a new level of interest in investment and it noteworthy that the interests are related to the non-oil sector. We have improved collection and are reforming tax laws in line with evolving business environment,” she said.

President of CITN, Dr. Olateju Somorin, in her address, pointed out that the huge gap between tax collection and the quantum left uncollected year after year must be addressed if the nation is to make meaningful and sustainable.

“A review of some of the tax laws has become overdue. Moreover, sustainable economic growth cannot be attained with only tax reform, without the review of the obsolete laws and tax rates in consonance with macroeconomic objectives and efficient tax administration machinery.

Continuing, the FRC chief appealed for the amendment of FRA, 2007 to remedy some weaknesses discovered by the Commission in the course of monitoring and enforcing it.

Muruako revealed, “This Commission is already partnering with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to ensure strict implementation of Government policies and revenue drive. The partnership will enhance the generation of huge revenue for the government from the non-oil sector.
*Chijioke Nelson & Anthony Otaru – The Guardian

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