Minister of Finance Mrs Zainab Ahmed said an additional N488 billion has been refunded to states to undertake Federal Government projects.
Uche Usim, Abuja
Federal Government said it has disbursed $5.4 billion to states from the Paris Club excess deductions refund.
Minister of Finance Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who made the disclosure during the maiden quarterly media briefing in Abuja, yesterday, said an additional N488 billion has been refunded to states to undertake Federal Government projects.
In addition, the Buhari administration has spent $6.8 on Joint Venture cash calls and N1.9 trillion on Contractor/Export Expansion Grant (EEG), in its efforts to clear the debts and liabilities inherited from previous administration.
According to her, the feats were achieved from 2015 till date despite the revenue shortfall that has plagued the Buhari administration.
The minister further revealed that the Whistleblower Unit of the Ministry has recovered over N8.5 billion and $465 million among others from the 1,051 investigations conducted from tip offs received.
She said: “The Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) under which over N35 billion was recovered with a significant recorded increase to our tax base. Asset tracing team discovered assets that were not reported in the books of accounts of the Federation
“Going forward, we plan to launch Project Lighthouse that seeks to use big data analytics to provide intelligence to the tax authority on eligible taxpayers and their real taxable incomes and assets. As we plan to roll out the IPPIS to all other MDAs in 2019 and optimize Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), we are set for an improved PFM system that ensures an efficient and cost effective public service delivery for our citizens”, she explained.
Ahmed noted that through the Pension Commission (Pencom), the ministry has paid N54 billion to settle outstanding pension arrears from 2014, 2015 and 2016 as well as paid pension claims up to March 2017.
“Based on verification outcome by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), we have also paid over 2,000 former workers of our defunct national carrier – Nigeria Airways Limited
“We are making monthly payments of 9,215 former workers of NITEL/ Mtel after over 12 years via Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). We have also paid over N571 million as gratuity and arrears to 174 Biafra War Affected Retired Police Officers (WARPRO) in October 2017,” she added.
She said plans were ongoing to automate various revenue collection processes, such as the deployment of healthpay in the health sector, edupay in education and e-Collections by revenue authorities.
“We have seen revenue shore up to record high levels. More specifically, FIRS deployed the e-Services platform that has automated the end-to-end tax process from registration to collection of Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC).
“The tax initiatives spearheaded by FIRS also include the automation VAT collection at source in some key sectors. Under my tenure as the finance minister, I intend to continue championing such digitalization transformation initiatives that have proven to be a good way forward for our revenue generation drive.
“In support of healthcare, we have committed up to US$21 million to invest in three healthcare projects which are being executed as public private partnerships with three federal medical institutions under the management of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA),” she explained.