By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Over N31.6 billion came into the coffers of Niger State Government from all sources as receipts between January and June this year, the state’s House of Assembly Committee on Finance has disclosed.
The House committee which investigated the financial standing of the state government for the period under review, said the state raked in a little over 2.427 billion naira from local sources as internally generated revenue within the period.
In its report submitted at plenary on Wednesday, the committee observed that statutory allocations to the state from the federal government was about N11.7 billion, Value added Tax, (VAT) yielded about N4.3 billion while the exchange gains is put at N141, 149, 065. 01.
The committee reported that the two trenches of bailouts funds received from the federal government in the period under reference was N12.5 billion, (=N=2.5 Billion and =N=10 Billion respectively.)
The report also disclosed that the Single Treasury Account (TSA) system introduced by the present administration raked in the sum of N424, 619, 198.52 between January and June 2016 to the state government.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Abdullahi A Mammagi revealed that the state government within the period expended N26.6 billion as running cost. N18.9 billion out of the sum was expended on the payments of salaries to public workers in the state.
Other areas the monies were expended on included the payments for overheads and releases made to Ministries Departments and Agencies, (MDAs).
About N500 million was spent on the consultants that were engaged to improve the state IGR and the officials of the Board of Internal Revenue.
The state spent N2.8 billion for the execution of various projects from the N10 billion set aside for infrastructural development within the period. The projects are spread across the three senatorial zones of the state.
The committee said the balance of N7.137 billion is reserved for further projects execution.
The Hon. Mammagi led committee however noted with dismay what it called “poor performance of state in IGR despite the various reforms introduced to rejuvenate the the state’s board of internal revenue to calvanize it for greater improvement in revenue generation.
The committee noted in its report that “there has not been any significant improvement in the internally generated revenue in the state from what it has always been in the past”.
The report condemned as ‘fraudulent’ the subsisting arrangement within the board whereby a consultant engaged in specific areas for revenue generation is paid a percentage of the total sum collected before remitting the sum to the board”.
It lamented the state was being hugely shortchanged under the subsisting arrangement. “The engagement of the consultants which is supposed to improve the revenue of the state is rather worsening our situation as a government” it added.
The report therefore called for a total overhaul of the state Board of Internal Revenue to make it more result oriented in order to meet the benchmark set by the government to the board and to make the state reasonably financially strong.
The committee also recommended a prompt review of the law establishing the Niger State Revenue Board. It suggested that the law should be amended in such a way that it would provide for separate salary regimes for all categories of staff to motivate and encourage them to do more for the state.
When the report was put to vote, majority of the members endorsed it. The Speaker of the House, Hon. Ahmed Marafa directed the Clerk of the House to immediately prepare a clean copy of the bill and forward it to the Governor.
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.