The Senate on Thursday gave the Accountant General of the Federal a matching order (AGF) to design a robust software for revenue generation, monitoring and, particularly tracking mechanisms to block possible revenue leakages.
The order came after the AGF, Ahmed Idris owned up to a question raised by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, during a budget defense if there was a platform for monitoring revenues coming into the coffers of the federal from various agencies.
The Committee had earlier decried poor funding of the of the office of the Accountant General Office (AGF) and wondered if a critical office in charge of government accounts is grossly underfunded, it could as well be subjected to poor performance and open doors for leakages.
Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, in his earlier account of his 2020 budget performance, disclosed that capital allocation to his office based on the 2020 revised budget on personal cost was 50%, told the Committee that: “We don’t have for now but there is ongoing efforts in the revenue allocation department in my office to put in a place a process.” He said though it is just a proposal for now to block leakages.
He was then asked how does he manage it from the spot if there is any leakages between the revenue and remittance. Do we have to wait till the end of the year when billions or millions of naira have gone down the drain because we don’t have the facilities?, also asked the committee chairman.
The AGF in his response, said the revenue accounts of agencies of the federal government enrolled into the TSA, are visible in the office of Account General. He however said the problem goes beyond the revenue accounts as there should be need to have robust solution and take advantage of full automation to optimize visibility and transparency in revenue budgets.
Displeased with his submission, Chairman of the committee expressed disappointment over what he described as a major setback on government’s efforts to block financial leakages and wastages.
“If as at today, you don’t have something on your desktop or table to monitor revenue as it is coming, in and we are still making proposals, is a major concern”, said Senator Adeola.
However, the committee in his wisdom proposed that new platforms and mechanism should be designed and submitted before the passage of the 2021 appropriation bill into law.
The Committee said this was necessitated due to several complaints about the Remittal platform and the idea is to design a sectorial platforms allocated to different sectors and purposes – salaries and revenue generation and collection etc.
“Remittal has failed. There have been complaints about Remittal and its platform. There have been complaints, there have been issues and there have challenges. By the quantum of money that comes into our system daily, one platform cannot sustain it.
“Remittal has been there for over ten years and they have been collecting commissions into billions of naira.
“We need revenue platforms that are formidable, that are up to the task to come on board”, he pleaded to the AGF to as soon as possible design as many platforms to monitor government’s revenue inflows and outflows.