It is no longer news that Mrs. Kemi Adeosun resigned her appointment as Nigeria’s substantive minister of finance.
Adeosun’s resignation came on the heels of controversy surrounding her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) “Certificate of Exemption” which was allegedly forged as reported by an online news platform.
Looking beyond the claim made by the media, it is important to examine her achievements as a minister in a key ministry like finance.
Adeosun was appointed into the federal cabinet on November 11, 2015, by President Muhammadu Buhari, implying she served as a minister for exactly 2 years, 10 months and 3 days.
Within this period, she implemented a number of policies and introduced some initiatives which had put the nation in good standing.
Here are some key things you need to know about her achievements as they relate to the economy of this nation.
1. Creation of Efficiency Unit
Adeosun created the Efficiency Unit on November 25, 2015. This is barely two weeks after she assumed duty as the finance minister of the country.
The unit was set up to deploy cost-cutting initiatives in order to reduce wastage, promote efficiency, ensure prudence and add value for money in all government expenditures.
As at May 2018, the Federal Government through the efficiency unit had saved a total of N125 billion in two (2) years from cost cutting on travel allowances, sitting allowances souvenirs, and other recurrent expenditures like office stationery by issuing circulars to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
2. Introduction of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS)
Adeosun did not only deploy initiatives to cut cost in federal expenditure, she also came up with a strategy which was aimed at creating alternative source of revenue generation.
Recall that the nation generates about 70 percent of its revenue from oil, this dependence among others contributed to the 2016 economic recession, as there was no buffer to mitigate the effects of the shock in the prices of crude oil in the global market.
The VAIDS, which was launched in June, 2017, is a Federal Government tax amnesty programme scheduled from July, 2017 to May, 2018, but was later extended to June, 2018. The initiative allowed defaulting taxpayers to voluntarily and truthfully declare previously untaxed assets and incomes
In June, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, disclosed that Federal Government had recovered about N30 billion from the scheme, but noted that the exact amount entering the treasury might remain unknown until after three years.
Also, the scheme had so far recruited and trained 2,190 Community Tax Liaison Officers (CTLOS).
3. Whistle-blowing Policy
In December 2016, the federal ministry of finance under Adeosun’s leadership introduced the whistle-blowing policy which was part of the Federal Government’s strides to fight against corruption in the country.
The idea of the policy was to support the anti-corruption war of the government by increasing exposure of financial crimes and rewarding the whistle-blowers.
The Federal Government opened a website where reports of such crimes could be reported, it also engaged some personnel to handle the task.
In May, Adeosun had disclosed that the government, through the whistle-blowing policy, had recovered N13.8 billion from companieswho deliberately evaded or under-paid taxes, and paid a total of N439.276 million to 14 whistle-blowers who provided “specific tips” on the companies.
The government had received 8,373 communications, 1,231 tips and 534 investigations since it started in December 2016, and recovered 190 abandoned properties of the nation’s foreign missions and federal government agencies.
4. Tax Reforms
Adeosun, as the minister of finance, introduced some tax reform initiatives, among which is the reduction of tax for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The development was informed by the need to encourage more entrepreneurs to start up business in the country and also improve profitability for existing businesses, which would in turn spur growth in the nation’s economy.
Also, in furtherance to the commitment of the Buhari-led government to drive Nigeria’s economic growth plan through mobilization of more revenues, Adeosun, through several initiatives which created awareness on the need to pay taxes, increased the nation’s tax payers’ base from 14 million to 19 billion within two years from the 65 million economically active people who were not tax complaint.
5. Treasury Single Account (TSA)
Though not entirely it’s concept, as it was initiated by the previous administration, today one of the major fiscal achievements this present administration can boost of is the creation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA). Although, while the policy had been widely criticized by some Nigerians, some others have expressed satisfaction in the efficiency of the system which blocked leakages and loopholes in the nation’s finances.
The TSA is a unified account which provides a transparent system for improving the efficiency required in managing the revenue collection, utilization, and expenditure of the Federal Government.
6. Completion of Bank Verification Number (BVN) process
Before the emergence of the present administration, the previous administration had initiated the Bank Verification Number (BVN), which is aimed at harmonizing data of bank users across the country. Unfortunately, the initiative was not completed before the then President Goodluck Jonathan was voted out of office.
With the appointment of Kemi Adeosun about three years ago, she pushed for the completed of the process, making the BVN an important major number for validating customers’ identity in various financial institutions across the country. This, no doubt, is of the initiatives that could be compared with the national identity.
7. IPPIS Platform
The Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) is a public finance platform for Federal Government employees which began with seven MDAs
The platform is part of the fiscal initiatives introduced when Adeosun was the finance minister to determine the actual strength of the Federal Government’s workers, budget and plan effectively.
As of July 2018, a total of 486 MDAs with over 300,000 employees had been enrolled on the platform.
8. Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN)
The Federal Government, though her ministry (finance), reached an agreement with the World Bank Group and other development partners including African Development Banks (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank for the release of $1.3 billion for the take-off of the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN).
The agreement was reached at the 2016 annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the target of spurring growth in micro, small and medium enterprises.
The DBN became operational in the first quarter of 2017 after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued its operating license. Since then the bank had issued credit worth N5 billion for MSMEs at low interests through its partner banks.