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FIRS calls for improved e-payment system

Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), on Monday in Abuja said there was the need for improved e-payment system to enhance accountability and transparency.

In her goodwill message to a two-day training workshop on e-payment, Omoigui-Okauru said that the e-payment was prone to a lot of challenges hindering its smooth implementation.

The chairman said: “Some of the problems we faced with e-payment at the FIRS, among others, have to do with reconciliation; being able to reconcile what is paid, what the banks received and ultimate basic account. The complaints and constraints facing accountants in FIRS is also the fact that e-payment has not been as fast as it should be.

“In fact, it’s like we are doing the e-payment on the manual system; we have not seen the full benefits of e-payment. Another problem is the diversion of e-payment of taxes to accounts other than those designated at the banks. We noted that in some banks, this e-payment does not get to the designated accounts but post to some accounts even when we thought that e-payment should go direct,’’ she added.

Omoigui-Okauru urged the workshop participants to find solutions to these issues and ensure that the benefit of e-payment was witnessed in both the public and the private sectors. She commended the effort of the organisers of the workshop and noted that in spite of its shortfalls, e-payment had helped FIRS to adopt faster process of tax payment.

Mr Gabriel Ogunsina, the Auditor-General of the Federation, said that e-payment system was laudable but should be subjected to review. He said efforts should be made to train and retrain accounting personnel to enable them to brace to the current trend in the accounting world.

“I employ stakeholders in the workshop to be attentive to the problems listed so far, proffer ways forward, so that we witness effective implementation of e-payment in our various sectors,” he said.

Dr Ezekiel Oye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, said resistance, slow compliance with change and poor knowledge of ICT had contributed to the slow pace of implementation of e-payment. He called for the elimination of manual system and human interferences in the system for more efficiency and effectiveness.


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