Federal Government has swung into action with the implementation of newly introduced 7.5 % hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) and related tax adjustments provided for in 2019 Finance Act. Accountant-General of Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, made the disclosure on Wednesday when met with journalists.
He told journalists he received payment yesterday in which 5% VAT was applied, but had to return the payment to the person, and requested it be computed using the new 7.5% rate. AGF didn’t elaborate details of the payment and where it came from.
He also gave reasons for the delay in the full take off of the Open Government Treasury Transparency Portal across Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs). Ahmed stated that information is being uploaded daily on the portal but work had to stop when the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) closed all government accounts in December.
Other reasons for the delay he said include training account officers of MDAs to understand what is required of them and know how to upload information on the portal; public sensitization on the new initiative and receipt and processing of data from MDAs.
The federal government last year December launched financial transparency policy and open treasury portal. The occasion launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, was meant to open government financial activities to public scrutiny in terms of revenue and expenditure of MDAs.
With the portal, Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) is mandated to publish daily, treasury statement which will provide information about what came into the national purse and what went out every single day. The AGF and all Accounting Officers are under obligation to publish daily payments.
Giving updates on compliance with the new finance rule for MDAs operations, Ahmed said that, “We are now training personnel that will upload information into the portal because it’s very important to train them. We have to suspend that to focus on closure of account as required by law in December. Our staff are back and we will concentrate on the financial portal”
“All policies of government bordering on transparency, openness in government finances – Treasury Single Account(TSA), IPPIS, GIFMIS and the recently unveiled financial transparency policy and treasury portal emanated from here, OAGF”, Ahmed said.
He explained that, those policies were necessary and vital for government to secure confidence of the public to get their buy-in to the policies. “You can’t be open if you are not transparent both in expenditure and revenue and make them open and accessible to the public. The public has responsibility to be informed especially where public funds are involved.
On the open treasury portal, President Muhammdu Buhiari tabled the idea before Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the council endorsed it. Fighting corruption isn’t just for the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu to arrest people and take them to court We have to start the preparation by preventing corruption from happening by making jailing the last option,”, he added.