Nigeria insists on following budgetary provisions by its agencies

Timothy Choji, Abuja

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibajo has reiterated government’s policy of ensuring that all agencies concerned with revenue generation for the country must present their budgets for approval before spending such monies, in line with the provisions of the Treasury Single Account, TSA.

He says the introduction of the TSA by government has now resolved all problems associated with the collection of revenue by some agencies of government.

The Vice President revealed this at the 64th meeting of the National Economic Council, at the State House, in Abuja, which he presided.

Addressing Journalists at the end of the meeting, the Governor of Anambra state South East Nigeria, Dr Willie Obiano said the Vice President made the remark after the Council received a report on the auditing of some agencies that collect revenues in foreign currency but remit the naira equivalent.

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma said the economy of the country was largely affected by the fall in oil prices.

“The state of our economy is largely affected by the decline in the prices of oil between June 2014 and December 2015 and that has greatly increased our domestic vulnerabilities,” he said.

Budget Objectives

Mr Udoma however said the 2016 budget seeks to make things better, as it aims at creating significant number of jobs, thus creating an efficient Public Financial Management System that will help build an economy that is less vulnerable to oil price shocks.

He said the Council advised State governments to immediately explore innovative financing options, and increase their internally generated revenue, to compliment their revenue share from the federation account, which he said will be affected by the persistent fall in oil prices.

The Minister announced that government will not in any way increase taxes but will insist that corporate bodies and individuals pay their taxes.

“At this time the Federal government will not increase Value Added Tax VAT rate but will improve upon VAT collection, which is currently only about 20%. We encourage states to help the Federal Inland Revenue Service in VAT collection and remittance,” Mr Udoma explained.

Excess Crude

On the position of the country’s excess crude account, Jigawa state Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar said the balance stood at 2.2 billion dollars, as at the end of December, 2015.

“The Accountant General of the Federation, reported to the Council that the balance on our Excess Crude Account as at 1st December, 2015 stood at $ 2,257, 97.98,” Alhaji Abubakar stated.

He said 28 states have so far benefitted from the Presidential bailout fund, for the payment of salaries while 23 other have so far accessed the N10 billion Export Credit Agency ECA backed soft loan of government.

Also Speaking, Lagos state Governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode explained that the ad-hoc committee on the management of Excess Crude Account and payment of same into the federation account, informed the Council that 81 government agencies had been identified for forensic auditing and the Council promptly approved the engagement of two audit firms to carry out the task.

Nnenna.O