Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria 13th-September-2017 - Page 23

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017 business & economy 23 iNSiDE Money & Markets Pages: 25, 26 & 27 Appointments & Mgt Pages: 29, 32 & 34 Transport Pages: 35, 36 & 39 Budget: Low revenue generation threatens funds release • Only N120bn out of N807bn target realised so far Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja T hE Federal Government on Tuesday said that the low revenue generation by its Ministries, Departments and Agencies was affecting the implementation of the 2017 budget. It lamented that with about four months to the end of the year, only 25 per cent or N120bn out of the target of N807bn set for agencies generating revenue only for the Federal Government under the Fiscal Responsibility Act had been realised. Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday at a workshop on compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which was organised for senior officers of the MDAs, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, said there was a need for improvement in revenue generation in order to meet the targets set for this year. Some of the agencies generating revenue for the Federal Government alone under the FRA are the Central Bank of Nigeria, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency. Idris lamented that in 2016, the government fixed a revenue target of N1.3tn for the agencies, adding that only 35 per cent of the target was realised. he said the development made the government to reduce this year’s target to N807bn, with only about 25 per cent so far generated. Idris stated that the inability of the agencies to meet the expected revenue target had taken its toll on disbursements to the MDAs. he said, “We only realised 35 per cent of the N1.3tn revenue estimated for 2016. For 2017, it has been lowered to about Stakeholders flay FG over idle $100m cabotage fund Anna Okon P IquED by the death of indigenous shipping companies due to lack of funds and unfavourable policies, maritime stakeholders have queried the Federal Government’s wisdom in warehousing over $100m in the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund, thereby defeating the purpose for which it was set up. Speaking in Lagos on Tuesday at a breakfast meeting for public relations officers of maritime and related organisations, the Public Relations Officer, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Dr. Kayode Farinto, said the problem was due to lack of patriotism. “Our indigenous ships will continue to die because of the fact that we are not saying the truth. The Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund takes care of assisting our indigenous ship owners with funds. The CVFF holds nothing less than N70bn in an escrow account. What happens to that fund?” Farinto asked. Similarly, the Special Adviser on Seafarers Affairs to the President- General of the Maritime Workers’ union of Nigeria, henry Odey, said that the country was only able to rescue citizens trapped in Liberia during its civil war because the Nigerian National Shipping Line was still operational. The retired sailor recalled also that the NNSL had a training ship made for cadets, which carried cargo and cadets to give them sea-time. he faulted the new trend whereby the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency was shuttling from country to country seeking assistance with sea-time training, adding, “how would you think that the other countries would like to train your cadets for you to compete with them? “It is a shame on our country because we are doing nothing. Do you think you can go to the Philippines and ask them to train your cadets so that you can compete with them? I worked on board the British ship, Dempsa, and if you were not a good sailor, nobody would employ you. But today, nobody cares.” The Publisher of maritime daily, Ships and Ports, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, noted that indigenous shipping was dead and blamed the situation on NIMASA, which he said had lost focus on shipping development. Akinola regretted that NIMASA was now a money-making agency, as its three per cent freight levy on ships had made it a big attraction for political appointments, adding that while the CVFF had billions of naira in an idle escrow account, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron continued to churn out ill-trained and ill-qualified cadets. According to him, no fewer than 6,000 of those cadets are today stuck with their National Diploma because they cannot get the required one-year sea- time training to proceed for the higher National Diploma. N807bn and we are now in the third quarter of the year. But what we have been able to realise to date is about N120bn. “We are now in September, which means we have not even gone half way; we are just hovering around 25 per cent of the estimated revenue for this year as far as Internally Generated Revenue for this year is concerned.” he added, “We must go back and see what we can use to enhance our revenue generation, otherwise the budget will not be funded and that is why we have gaps in terms of releases. Agencies wonder why certain components of the releases are not made 100 per cent, but this is partly the reason. “The estimated revenue is not really achieved as expected and therefore the releases could not be made as expected.” Idris, however, urged the heads of the government agencies to be more creative in revenue generation efforts so that they could meet their individual targets and •L-R: Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari; Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria; Chairman, NRC, Alhaji Usman Abubakar; representative of President, CRRC Nanjing Puzhen Co. Limited, Mr. Yang Qi; and Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Gbenga Ashafa, during the presentation of a model train to the Nigerian delegation in Naijing, China... on Tuesday. Photo: Ministry of Transportation collectively meet the targeted revenue to fund the budget. The Minis