2019 budget: Buhari’s appointee, Ben Akabueze confirms Nigeria is facing serious financial challenge

2019, budget Buhari, appointee, Ben Akabueze, confirms Nigeria, facing, serious, financial, challenges2019 budget: Buhari’s appointee, Ben Akabueze confirms Nigeria is facing serious financial challenges.
Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr.Ben Akabueze, has said that the nation is facing financial challenges, with the Federal Government’s budgeted Independent Revenue performing at a mere 36 per cent, as of September.Addressing Chief Executive Officers of Government-Owned Enterprises, GOEs, in Abuja, yesterday, Akabueze blamed the challenges on the refusal of some Federal Government organisations to remit revenue to the treasury up to the tune of N2.81 trillion.The figure came from a long list of 50 defaulting GOEs with unremitted revenues in the current year, as well as those brought forward from previous years.Top on the list were Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, with N1.343 trillion; Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, with N801 billion; Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, with N192.102 billion; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, N66.081 and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, N51.991 billion.Others among the largest debtors were NIPOST, N37.744 billion; Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, N30.853 billion, National Inland WaterWays Authority, NIWA, N30.834 billion, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, N30.709 billion and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, N22.799 billion.Speaking, the DMO boss said the country was battling a shortfall in revenue which is worsened by failure of Federal Government organizations to remit about N2.810 trillion.Akabueze said: “Nigeria faces significant medium-term fiscal challenges, especially with respect to revenue generation.The FY 2017 and Jan-Sept 2018 budget performance clearly reveal that we have a serious revenue challenge.” He condemned the practice by the GOEs, in which he said the Federal Government had invested over N40 trillion, over the years but failed to provide revenue support for government expenditure.He said: “Despite huge sums the Federal Government has invested (circa N40 trillion) in these agencies, what is usually remitted to the Treasury in terms of dividend or surplus at the end of each operating year is mostly insignificant.“The record shows that few of the GOEs declare surpluses.In effect, the Nigerian tax payers/general public have not benefited much from these investments in the agencies.“Out of the total projected sum of N847.95 billion Independent Revenues in 2018, only N302.66 billion, representing 36.8% performance, had been achieved by September this year.” He further said that key reforms would be implemented with increased vigour to improve revenue collection and expenditure management.
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