Written by Sarah NEGEDU

RMAFC calls for slimmer cabinet

The acting Chairman, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, Shettima Abba-Gana, has called for a more compacted governance structure as one way of reducing administrative cost in Nigeria.

Abba-Gana while speaking at a National Policy and Development Summit, said the cost of governance could be minimized by reducing the executive structure of the 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.

He said 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.

The Summit was 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.

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.”

Other factors he added, 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.

“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 maximize 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.”

According to him, the RMAFC recovered N73.175billion unremitted taxes and duties for 2008-2015, N168.5billion from tax liabilities owed by the federal, state and local government councils, $1.747billion and $1.554billion 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 change period over the pre-change 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.

 

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