RMAFC Urges FG To Reduce Cost Of Governance
The Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission has called for a reduction in the cost of governance in the country.
The acting Chairman, RMAFC, Shettima Abba-Gana, stated this in Abuja on Tuesday, during the National Policy and Development Summit jointly organised by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Policy Development and Analysis and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
He said the cost of governance could be minimised by reducing the executive structure of the optimum cabinet, limiting the number of political appointees and aides, merging and rationalising government agencies with similar functions and adhering strictly to approved remuneration of political and public office holders.
According to him, the pursuance of cost reduction policies, emphasis on the development of infrastructure and attitudinal change in terms of disposition and lifestyle of political leaders are viable options to prune the cost of governance.
Abba-Gana, in his presentation titled, ‘Interrogating the change agenda: Challenges and lessons learnt in the implementation of the Federal Government’s change agenda’, said the high cost of governance in Nigeria was caused by “the expensive nature of the presidential system of government, large bureaucracy–duplication of government ministries, departments and agencies and endemic corruption.”
He stated that other factors were the high cost of public service delivery due to infrastructure failure, high-security costs as a result of insurgencies, kidnappings, ethnoreligious agitations and armed robbery, multiple salaries and severance allowances; extravagant activities and expenditures, high domestic and foreign debts and weak enforcement institutions.
He said, “To consolidate the change agenda gains of the revenue collecting agencies, the RMAFC recommends a comprehensive review of the 1993 Production Sharing Contracts and the introduction of initiatives to stem down pipeline vandalism as well as crude and product losses in order to increase production to maximise benefits from production.
“Granting of waivers and concessions should be carefully implemented. The Mining and Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development should be upgraded to a full-fledged agency for the purpose of improving the collection of solid mineral revenue.
“The FIRS and NCS, being the major non-oil revenue collecting agencies, must improve their performance to move the country away from over-reliance on oil revenues.”
Abba-Gana stated that the RMAFC recovered N73.175bn unremitted taxes and duties for 2008-2015, N168.5bn from tax liabilities owed by the federal, state and local government councils, $1.747bn and $1.554bn of costs of assets divested to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company by Shell Petroleum Development Company and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, respectively.
“Higher revenue from other tax types recorded during the post-agenda period over the pre-agenda period is a sign of achievement. However, more needs to be done. Juxtaposing revenue collections in the pre-change agenda period against the post-change agenda period with fall in oil prices indicates much work was done,” he said.
He added that the total post-change agenda returns of the Nigeria Customs Service were higher compared to the pre-change agenda period.
“We can attribute this to the change agenda policy of the government. However, there is the need for the NCS to make more efforts,” Abba-Gana noted.
A former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Marwa (retd.), in his keynote address, said anti-corruption crusade was not all about arrest and prosecution of corrupt persons.
He said, “Anti-corruption is much more than that. It is the sum total of actions taken by a government or private organisation to put a wedge between people that are interested in converting resources meant for a specific purpose into private use.
“If this is anti-corruption, why are we so interested in the reactive fight against corruption, whereas the latent fight is yielding more results?”