DG Budget, Ben Akabueze

**Spends N40 Trillions On GOEs As Remittances Remain Insignificant

By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja

Nigerian Government said Tuesday that the country is facing critical medium term revenue generation challenges, prompting it to embark on emergency reforms with target of boosting the nation’s revenues.

It regretted that despite investing over N40 trillion in Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) over the years, their remittances had been mostly insignificant and short of expectations.

The nation’s Director General of Budget, Ben Akabueze, said these while making presentations on “Revenue Performance Management Framework for GOEs ” to the Chief Executive Officers of the GOEs in a meeting to acquaint them of their shortfalls in revenue generation and the government proposed reforms to shore up the revenues.

He said that due to the insufficient remittances from the GOEs, government had not been able to make anticipated investments in infrastructure development, social welfare, among others for the benefits of the tax payers.

Akabueze said: “The continuous underperformance of the GOEs has made it difficult to achieve enhanced domestic revenue mobilisation from operating surpluses of the GOEs”, adding that even as the government has resorted to borrowing but such is interim measure and the loans are meant to be serviced and paid back with revenues internally generated.

Further, he cited that concerns about the financial performance of GOEs gave rise to Executive Order 2 of 2017 and the Circular ref SGF 50/S.3/C.9/24 recently issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated that urgent corrective measures be taken.

To underscore the nonperforming records of the GOEs, the Director General of Budget cited that “Out of the total projected sum of N807.57 billion independent revenues in 2017, only N216.66 billion, representing 26.8 percent performance, was remitted by GOEs and revenue generating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).”

Going by the approved revenue performance management framework for the GOEs, the reforms introduced include performance monitoring, expenditure controls, budgeting and financial reporting, financial oversight and Amendment of the Establishment Acts of some GOEs.

Also, Akabueze cited that “The FY2017 and Jan – Sept 2018 budget performance clearly revealed that we have a serious revenue challenge” and enumerated that some of the initiatives being taken to reverse the trend include deployment of new technology, upward review of tariffs and tax rates, stronger enforcement and tighter performance management framework for GOEs among others.

He maintained that key reforms will be implemented with increased vigour to improve revenue collection and expenditure management just as he said “Achieving fiscal sustainability and macro-fiscal objectives of government will require bold, decisive and urgent action.

Currently, he said most GOEs are indebted to the government with remitted operating surpluses amounting to several billions of Naira.