The Federal Government has commenced the audit of the entire operations of the maritime sector in its quest to increase its contribution to the national purse.
The review was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, and has been duly approved for a private independent entity – Compliance Professionals Plc, to examine the flow of operations in the sector and chart a course for better performance in revenue generation.
The maritime industry is currently estimated to be generating over $6billion yearly (about N2.3trillion), making it one of the highest revenue generation sectors in Nigeria.The project, which would be implemented in three phases, is currently at the end of phase one, while phase two, which would deal mostly on the concession agreement with the terminal operators in also in progress.
Omoigui Okauru, Managing Partner, Compliance Professionals Plc, in an exclusive chart with The Guardian, said the project would cover revenue generation process review; level of compliance to financial rules; regulations review; and remittance improvement recommendations.Also included in the review are: manpower audit (efficiency, capacity and competence,) staffing size and duties recommendation; ICT audit; management effectiveness performance audit.
It would also examine the expired port concession agreements; review and compliance verification; financial model for concession agreement negotiation, among others.Okauru described the project as very relevant and timely, and defying the odds to make significant contribution to the Federal Government’s purse, through its agencies, and more importantly, through the taxes collected from private sector operators in the maritime sub-sector.
She said: “We have been able to identify why over the years the maritime sector has not taken its pride of place the same way the oil sector has done as a veritable contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and what the critical issues are. We are not looking for a whole list of things to be done; we are looking for few things that needed to be done, and will really elevate the sector.”
Okauru said the group is expected to complete the project by the end of June, and deliver the recommendations to the Minister of Transportation, adding that it is currently about 50 percent completed.
She noted that the project would also proffer ways for Ease of Doing Business, “because we cannot generate revenue if we don’t have a friendly environment, or we don’t get work done at the level of efficiency expected. We cannot generate revenue if we don’t have people interested in investing in assets. Revenue is not generated by the taxes you charge, but by the base, you raise when you have more people coming into the system.”
Rotimi Amaechi, Minister for Transportation, had earlier confirmed the audit project, describing it as a strategic way of exploiting the revenue-generating possibilities available in the sector. It is also meant to diversify the nation’s revenue stream, especially in the advent of the slump in oil prices as well as contribute to job creation and skill enhancement within the sector.