By Emma Ujah & Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA â€“ THE Federal Government, yesterday, said that more than N3 trillion of government revenue failed to reach the treasury over the last three years, just as it said it would conduct a comprehensive review of all ministries, agencies and parastatals that generate revenue.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Mr. John Enoh, who made the revelations, noted that many government ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, lacked proper understanding of the concept of internally generated revenue, IGR, for government.
He said: â€œMost of these revenue generating agencies and establishments of government dip recklessly into monies generated from their activities for spending, even when budgetary provisions for such expenditure are made.
â€œSo far, investigations by the House Committee have revealed that more than N3 trillion, the equivalent of our annual national budget, has not been remitted over the past three years into government coffers.â€
Eno who noted that the nation would not be able to achieve its developmental targets, if the anomaly was not corrected, stressed that the poor performance of governmentâ€™s budgetary propositions was not because they were too ambitious, â€œbut because we have a poor culture of generation or collection of government revenue and timely remittance of such.â€
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has indicated that challenges made it impossible for it to meet the â€œambitiousâ€ revenue target it set for itself in the year 2009.
Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogu, who noted this at a workshop on Enhancing Internally Generated Revenue Collection and Remittance System in the Federal Public Service, in Abuja, said: â€œIndeed, in recent years, revenue from non-oil taxes has been on the increase, being driven by economic growth, more effective revenue remittance systems and recent reforms by our revenue collecting agencies such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Nigeria Customs Service.â€
Okogu said, however, that the 2009 fiscal year proved to be a very challenging one in terms of non-oil revenue collection, adding: â€œWhile higher levels of revenue were achieved than the outturns recorded in 2008, the ambitious revenue targets we set for 2009 were generally not realized for a variety of reasons.â€
He noted that although actual Companies Income Tax remittances came close to the N587 billion projected (underperforming by only N21.93 billion or 3.7 per cent), Value Added Tax collections underperformed by N111.61 billion or 19.2 per cent of the N587 billion target.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, said in a keynote address at the workshop that governmentâ€™s programmes were heavily impaired due to the poor collection and remittance of internally generated revenue
He said his ministry â€œwill conduct audits of non-oil revenue remittances including independently generated revenue; adopt appropriate strategies to ensure that the relevant corporations remit their operating surpluses to the Treasury as and when due, and close any identified loopholes to minimize revenue leakages.â€