Cashless Nigeria: FG to issue circular on new e-collection regime

To enlighten the public and all interested stakeholders on the usage of electronic revenue collection platform aimed at checking theft, diversion of collected revenue and all sorts of corrupt practices associated with revenue collection, Federal Government has issued a circular and a booklet of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). The booklets will be available at registration desks of all its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and project members’ banks.

Recently the federal government held a sensitisation workshop on e-collection at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja and directed all its MDAs to close their revenue accounts with Deposit Money Banks [DMBs] latest by February 28.

Government gave the directive while unveiling an electronic revenue collection platform, powered by Remita, indigenous software developed by SystemSpecs. The platform was built to check theft, diversion of collected revenue and all sorts of corrupt practices associated with revenue collection.

According to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla, at the Abuja workshop, designed to sensitise MDAs to the commencement of the electronic revenue collection project, the implementation of the project, which kicked off on January 1, would enthrone a new regime of centralised, transparent and accountable internally generated revenue management system.

As such, he asked that the balances in the revenue accounts should be transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government, stating further that any MDA that failed to comply with the directive by the end of February would be sanctioned.

Otunla said the new platform would improve the availability of funds for financing of developmental projects and budgets as well as plugging loopholes in government revenue collection and management.

The commencement of the e-collection platform, he informed, was a product of series of treasury reforms that began in 2012 and aimed at ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of the nation’s resources.

According to him, the reforms have led to the introduction of the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System and the Treasury Single Account. “We have rolled out the GIFMIS and TSA implementation. At inception, a total of 93 agencies were enrolled and as of today, we have about 551, which is about three quarter of the total budget of the federation.

“We have yet to realise the full potential of the reforms. Some big budget MDAs to wit the National Assembly, National Judicial Council, the armed forces and some other autonomous agencies have been reluctant to be brought into the GIFMIS and TSA process.

“The implication of this is that substantial cash resources of the government are still lying idle at a time when our cash flow is facing a lot of challenges. In the face of the cash flow problem, we need to be more creative. We can enhance the performance of the budget by either improving revenue or reducing costs.”

Otunla added: “Our efforts this morning on the e-collection of revenue is a revenue enhancing programme by freeing more funds for budget performance. We are perfecting a system of collection. We are not perfecting a system depriving the commercial banks of income.

“So, we just want to make revenue collection a little more efficient; but in the process, it might influence the inflow to the commercial banks and that’s why the Central Bank of Nigeria is playing a pivotal role.”

While shedding light on the new revenue collection platform, the Director, Funds, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Dikwa, said, government revenues would now be paid into the CRF/TSA at the Central Bank through any branch of the DMBs.

He said, “A treasury circular on e-collection will be issued next week. With the coming of e- collection, MDAs can no longer maintain revenue bank accounts with commercial banks. You are, therefore, advised to transfer any outstanding balance in your RBA to the CRF and immediately commence the processes of closing them.

“The MDAs are given up to February 28, 2015to close the RBAs. Appropriate sanctions shall be applied against any MDA that fails to comply.”

To ensure the successful implementation of the project, Dikwa explained that a multi-stakeholder committee comprising the OAGF, CBN and representatives of all the commercial banks was set up to agree on the implementation plans and timelines.

Source : Independent

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