- With the dwindling funds accruing to the state from the Federation Account Allocation, occasioned by the crash in the prices of crude oil, Governor Udom Emmanuel charted a pragmatic approach with a view to turning around the fortunes of the state. The best option was diversifying the revenue sources to improve internally generated yields. In line with this, government put in place modalities to establish, maintain and ensure continuous improvement of machineries for sourcing, collation, accounting and utilizing of public funds.
- To this end, various measures were adopted for maximum gains including:
- Appointing an Acting Chairman for the state’s Internal Revenue Service to supervise, monitor and harness internally generated revenue to boost the financial profile of the state.
- Dis-engaging of revenue consultants who were unable to meet target and increase revenue and engaging Rom-Flex, another revenue consultant who have come to introduce the e-receipt policy to address leakages, diversion of revenue to enhance a robust internally generated revenue.
- Sponsoring a bill in the 6th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly seeking to “make provision for the administration and collection of revenue due to the government of Akwa Ibom State and Local Government Councils in Akwa Ibom State by the Internal Revenue Service and to establish the relevant administrative structures and other matters connected therewith.”
- To ensure transparency of the bill, the authority of the State House of Assembly through its Committee on Appropriations and Finance chaired by Rt. Hon (Dr.) Usoro Akpanusoh, held a public hearing on the bill, where input from both professionals and stakeholders in the sector were presented. The autonomous nature of the State Internal Revenue Service will enhance effective revenue generation for the state thus providing enough resources for developing the state. Notable among the presenters at the public hearing was the Secretary, Joint Tax Board, M. L. Abubakar.
- Gathering and collation of the State indices to Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission for the process of upward review of the State share of the Federal Allocation
- Biometric capturing of most newly recruited civil/public servant in the State to provide a baseline data for the new payroll consultant usage.
- Restructuring of the state outstanding Commercial Bank Loan into Federal Government of Nigeria Bonds to free – up resources for meeting pressing financial obligations of government and also enable the state to invest in the Federal Government Bond.
- Engagement of a Debt Recovery Agent to exploit all idle revenue sources towards recovering over N500 million outstanding tax liabilities owed the state government by the defunct Power Holding Company Nigeria.
- Initiated move to access Excess Crude Account (ECA) by backing facility for the financing of some infrastructural development projects as a means of restoring fiscal stability in the state.
- Issuance of Financial Circulars to ensure efficient financial management and prevent double collection of salaries and continued payment to absconded staff.
- Engagement of a new payroll consultant – Esofties Solutions Limited, for transparency, pension and gratuity payments, using BVN (Bank Verification Numbers) mechanism and build capacity of our staff.
- Collection and collation of Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) from all Civil/Public Servants in the State government payroll to help the new payroll function effectively.
- Issue instrument for the implementation of a new Tax regime.
FINANCE AND REVENUE GENERATION
Prudent management of available resources to cater for the teething needs of the citizenry is very critical in governance. To this end, the Udom Emmanuel government has made prudence and transparency its guiding principle. Below are achievements in the finance and revenue generation sub-sector.
Submission of relevant indices to the National Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission for the process of upward review of Akwa Ibom State share of nationally pooled revenue.
Restructuring of State outstanding commercial banks’ loans into Federal Government of Nigeria bonds. The initiative helps the State to free-up resources with which to meet pressing financial obligations of government, as well as invest in Federal Government’s bonds.
Engagement of the services of a Debt Recovery Agent to help recover more than N500 million outstanding tax liabilities owed to the State Government by the defunct Power Holding Company Nigeria.
Initiation of moves for the State to access Excess Crude Account (ECA)-backed facility for the financing of some critical infrastructure.
Issuance of three Finance Circulars, one of which was on release of Last Pay Certificates (LPC) from former duty stations to current ones. This was to prevent double collection of salaries and continued payment to absconded Staff.
Engagement of a new Payroll Consultant, Esofties Solutions Limited, to enhance transparency in the payments of emoluments, pensions and gratuities, using BVN (Bank Verification Numbers) mechanism, capacity building of staff, who would take over the running of the process.
Collection and collation of the State public/civil servants’ Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) to help the new payroll consultant discharge his charge.
Issuance of instrument for the implementation of a new tax regime.
Ensuring the disbursement of the Central Bank of Nigeria-funded Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF)to beneficiaries in the state.
Successful personnel audit of the state public service.
Prompt verification of salary vouchers to ensure prompt salary payment to civil/public servants.
Payment of backlog of over ten years’ gratuities/pensions to retired Local Government staff.
Commencement of electronic receipt mechanism to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in monitoring, administering, and coordinating of all internally- generated revenue activities in the state.
Implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of government to entrench transparency and accountability in public finance management.
Successful review of cases of public officers and retirees with issues related to bank verification numbers, resulting in discovery of cases of double or multiple salary/pension collections, which were visited with appropriate sanctions on defaulters.
Production and publication of Finance News to publicize the policies, programmes and activities of government.
- Disbursement of the Central Bank f Nigeria, CBN-funded Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF) to beneficiaries in the state.
- Successful Personnel Audit of the state Public Service.
- Realization of investment income worth N108,277,188.631 from government investment in equities.
- Realization of the sum of 0m (Three Million Naira) as revenue from government property in Lagos.
- Payment of gratuity/pension to retiring local government staff who were not paid for years past.
- Initiating a measure towards effective coordination of State Finance sector through monthly meetings of all management staff of Ministry of Finance, Accountant-General Office, Internal Revenue and State Budget office.
- Coordinate harmonization of the 2016 Recurrent and Capital Estimates
- Reactivation of the Cyber Cafe in Ministry of Information headquarters
- Activation and extension of Internet Service in the Ministry
- Activation/updating of the Ministry’s website
- Production of Finance News publication to publicize the policies, programmes and activities of government
- Commencement of electronic receipt mechanism to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in monitoring and coordinating all internally generated revenue activities in the state.