100 consultants on Monday were appointed by the Federal Government to probe revenue leakages in the mines and minerals sector of the economy between 2012 and 2017 in an exercise titled: ‘Revenue Optimisation and Verification Project’.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, at the inauguration who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Abdukadir Muazu, said the consultants would be paid based on how much they were able to realise for the Federation Account.
“It is regrettable that in spite of our good efforts, we still have economic saboteurs in the sector who wish to undermine efforts of government by failing in their responsibilities to render to the Federation Account the fair due in royalties and taxes stated Fayemi.
“Indeed, leakages in government revenue remain a big challenge in the sector, which we are working collaboratively with other government entities and sector stakeholders to fix. We have given considerable thought to this challenge and come up with a number of strategies to tackle it, one of which we are witnessing its launch today.”
He added, “I am, therefore, pleased to announce that following the approval of the National Economic Council, we are today inaugurating a new model of revenue generation and collection in the mining sector. This entails the engagement of professional revenue consultants, who will work with our ministry’s mining officers to identify revenue leakages in the system.
“The deployment of consultants became imperative considering the funding and manpower challenges of the ministry. The consultants will add value to the ministry’s efforts and contribute the much-needed technical expertise, while also working on a no-win, no-fee basis, thus costing us nothing upfront.”
The minister said the Revenue Optimisation and Verification Project would seek to confirm the adequacy of royalty remittances made by the various operators in the mining industry.
He stated that the consultants were mandated to collect and analyse data from 2012 to 2017 in the course of their work, thus giving the government an opportunity to demand and receive accruals due to it from the referenced period.
It will also ensure the compliance of all operators to paying the correct amounts in royalties to the government’s coffers.
The Federal Government has established an inter-ministerial committee on the harmonisation of data collection and evaluation for the country.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who confirmed this on Monday in Abuja, said the committee would be chaired by the Statistician General of the Federation and Chief Executive of the National Bureau of Statistic, Dr. Yemi Kale.
The minister, according to a statement by the ministry, stated that the inter-ministerial committee would serve as the clearing house and focal authority for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government for data collection, authentication and publication.
She also noted that the committee would ensure national standards for data collection, evaluation and publication as well as regularly provide guidance to all the MDAs and other stakeholders engaged in data collection, analysis and publication for policy formulation, implementation and monitoring.
The statement quoted Adeosun to have said, “The establishment of the inter-ministerial committee has become imperative to develop the production of national statistics and avoid data production duplication.”
The committee is also expected to submit half-yearly reports to the finance minister for necessary briefing of President Muhammadu Buhari
Members of the committee include the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Idris Ahmed; Director-General, Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha; Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze; and representatives of the Federal ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Health, Agriculture and Rural Development, Labour and Productivity, Education, and Communication Technology.
Other members are the representatives of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Central Bank of Nigeria, Department of Petroleum Resources, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, National Population Commission, Nigeria Police, and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.