e-Collections: Govt earns N148 billion from MDAs’ 2014 IGR

•Targets more earnings via electronic channels

ALTHOUGH, N452 billion was targeted as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to be earned from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for 2014, the Federal Government earned N148 billion.

    The Deputy Director, Fiscal Accounts Division, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Sylva Okolieaboh disclosed this in Lagos, Wednesday, at the Sensitization Workshop on FGN e-Collection seminar organized by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), Federal Ministry of Finance. 

     Okolieaboh, who informed that the N148 billion was realized as at October 2014 through e-Collections, said that the process completes the cycle of processing government transactions electronically.

    Okolieaboh, represented by Chamberlain Surarumso from OAGF, said that the process of introducing e-collection started in May 2013 when commercial banks and payment service providers were engaged in Lagos. 

     According to him, the Federal Government had to revert to e-Collections because there are several issues around the manual process.

     He explained that poor tracking of IGR and other collection; leakages of government revenue and other inflows; non remittance of revenue by collecting entities; misappropriation of revenue and other collections and inadequate, or sometimes, out-right lack of records were among the challenges that IGR collections have encountered.

     Okolieaboh said the need for e-Collection process, which runs on Remita software from SystemSpecs, was aimed among other things to plug loopholes in the FGN revenue collection system; enthrone a new regime of transparent and accountable IGR management; improve available funds for funding developmental programs; aligns with the on-going Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) e-payment policy; ease the burden of revenue payers; make government contracts more accessible to the people and create a mutually rewarding relationship with collecting banks.

    The Deputy Director, Fiscal Accounts Division disclosed that the current e-collection channels remain any branch of banks; Internet banking and Remita Collection platform.  

    The scope of e-Collection according to him include the Consolidated Revenue Fund/Federal Government IGR items; FAAC items that are collected by Federal government MDAs; all refunds or payments to the Federal government be they revenue, transfers, donations, over-payment, among others.

     He tasks MDAs to ensure that their revenue targets are met; provide their payers with details of payment including amount and nature of payment; guide payers on e-collection processes including how to pay at the bank and where applicable, ensure that appropriate services are rendered upon confirmation of payment; monitor their payers and collecting banks to ensure that payments are actually made; liaise with funds department for resolution of any issues arising and cooperate with Revenue and Investment Department for purposes of IGR monitoring.

    Okolieaboh urged banks to ensure that all collections in favour of government are promptly remitted and that issues are logged with appropriate authorities (OAGF, CBN and REMITA) without delay, adding that they should liaise regularly with OAGF to ensure smooth operation of the e-collection initiative.

     He disclosed that the OAGF would ensure regular monitoring of all collections to ensure that they are promptly remitted and accounted for and that there will be continuous update of the e-Collection guidelines and processes and abide by the provisions of the MOU with CBN and banks.

   According to him, a draft MOU on TSA is ready and will soon be executed by the AGF and the Governor, CBN.

    Speaking on e-Collection in a Cash-less Society, Director, Banking and Payment System, CBN, Dipo Fatokun said the process has brought firmer grip on Monetary Policy and its attendant effects on inflation and economic stability; greater financial Inclusion; increased economics development; increased/transparent tax collection and increased IGR.

    While painting some of the success stories recorded in states in the areas of IGR generation through e-Payment, Fatokun, represented by Shola Agbola, said Lagos State through its Government Electronic Banking system (LASG EBS-RCM) grew IDR yearly as at 2002 at an average of six per cent, but “after the pilot of the cash-less policy in 2012, IGR grew by 10 per cent. 

    “Ogun State introduced a cashless pilot scheme in 11 State owned tertiary institutions in response to revenue leakages. At the end of Q1, 2012, the government reported revenues of N2.5 billion which is 195 per cent increase from reported revenues in Q1 of 2011 without an increase in fees.”

    According to him, the whole world is moving into a cash-less mode and Nigeria cannot be an exemption, stressing that the e-Collection will avert a larger proportion of revenue theft, diversion of collected revenue and all sorts of corrupt practices associated with revenue collection.

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