The implementation of the newly introduced 7.5 per cent hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) and related tax adjustments in the 2010 Finance Act has commenced, says Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris said on Wednesday, though business owners have continued to lament the increment.
The implementation is sequel to Monday’s signing of the Finance Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari .
The AGF told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday that since the bill had become a law, its implementation by his office had to start.
Idris said he saw a payment on Wednesday in which five per cent VAT was applied, but had to return it to the person.
His words, ”on Wednesday, I saw a payment which was done in December last year and when I checked the payment, the VAT on it was five per cent and I said no it must be 7.5 per cent because the five per cent VAT has been overtaken by events because that is the law as at today.
“So, I stopped it and asked them to go and recharge at 7.5 per cent. You cannot implement something unless you have the instrument whether administrative or legal for it to be implemented.”
The AGF also gave reasons for the delay in the full take off of the Open Government Treasury Transparency Portal across Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).
Idris however explained that information was being uploaded daily on the portal even after his office closed all government accounts last month.
Other reasons for the delay, he explained, are the training of MDAs account officers to understand how to upload information on the portal; public sensitisation and processing of data from MDAs.
The Federal Government last year December launched financial transparency policy and open treasury portal. The portal is designed to open government financial activities to public scrutiny in terms of revenue and expenditure of MDAs.
With the portal, the AGF is mandated to publish daily, treasury statements which will provide information about what came into the national purse and what went out every single day.
Giving updates on compliance with the new finance rule for MDAs operations, Ahmed said: ”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.”
He explained that, those policies were necessary for government to secure confidence of the public.
The minister said: “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.
“Fighting corruption isn’t just for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission 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.”