Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Automation of non-oil revenue collection critical to economic growth– AGF

The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, has stressed the need for continued automation and management of non-oil revenue, stressing that this is critical towards increasing revenue generation and economic growth of the country.

According to him, diversification of the economy away from oil dominance to non-oil sources of revenue including tax and Customs collections is of strategic economic importance to Nigeria.

Speaking at a conference of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development, NACOFED, Idris said the much-needed efficiency required in harnessing the vast potentials in non-oil revenues can only be achieved through full automation.

The AGF in a paper entitled, ‘Automation of Payment System for Efficiency in the Non-oil Sector’ said automation as opposed to manual processing, collection, management and reporting of government non-oil revenue would also block leakages.

He explained that the non-oil revenue, commonly referred to as Internally Generated Revenue include tax, operating surplus, tender fees, proceeds from sales of government assets and stores and licences.

“Others are mining rents, rent on government properties, investment income, interest earned and all other revenue that accrue exclusively to the Federal or state governments. For example, the projected total Federal Government revenue for 2017, 2018 and 2019 stand at N6.6 billion; N6.3 billion and N6.8 billion respectively.

“The non-oil revenue accounts for 37 per cent, 51 per cent and 56 per cent respectively. This underscore the rising significance of the non-oil revenue in Nigerians fiscal profile,” he said.

According to him, government must as a matter of priority, focus more attention to this critical element to boosting its revenue base away from oil by committing more resources for its actualization.

“The automation of non-oil revenue such as tax and customs duties for example provides payers with an avenue for self-service and promotes voluntary compliance and offers convenience through easy to use e-payments platforms,” he added.

He further advised that Government at all levels must as a matter of priority, focus more attention on this critical element of boosting their revenue base away from oil by committing more resources to its actualization.

To buttress on the gains of automating revenue collection, the AGF, said that implementing the TSA/e-collection, is currently saving Federal Government over N42 billion Monthly on Ways and Means charges.

Idris dismissed the idea that automation eliminates human involvement, rather "it minimizes it and makes it more meaningful and productive".



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