Revenue agencies’ exclusion from budgetary allocation?

A report the other day revealed that the Senate was planning to advise the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to exclude about 60 revenue generating Federal Government agencies from getting budgetary allocation from the national budget as from 2021 Financial Year. Some of the targeted agencies include: the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). There are others that are reported to cover various sectors of the economy including Agriculture, Aviation, Education, Health, Maritime, Communications and Technology.

One of the main reasons advanced by the Senate for this move is the Senate’s belief that the targeted agencies generate enough revenue from their operations and should therefore able to fund their respective overheads and salaries. The other reason, in this regard, is the need to control wastage of financial resources. Yet another justification is the expediency of putting an end to indolence in the management and operations of the agencies. The move is also aimed at ending poor revenue profits and hence, remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account. The icing-on-the-cake of adduced reason to move in the direction proposed by the Senate is that, it is in the interest of Nigerians to prevent having non-implementable national budgets due to fiscal deficits. Meanwhile, to effect the change intended, the Senate intends to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act,

First, the targeted revenue generating agencies will, directly or indirectly, be conferred with financial autonomy or independence. This, no doubt will mean that each of the agencies will be accountable to itself, both in terms of their revenues and expenditures. Consequently, part of the monies they generate will be used to service their operations and activities. They will also not be obliged to make any specific contributions from any targets to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account. Furthermore, there may be no credible means of effectively monitoring whether they receive surplus revenues over their expenditures. Indeed, more expenses are likely to be made under the financial autonomy arrangement where there will be no superior authority’s specified expenditure limit as subsists in the present dispensation.

The subsisting dispensation mandates the remittance of all revenues to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account under the Single Treasury Account (TSA) system with a specified and allowed expenditure limit.

Read the full article in Guardian

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