The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has pledged to co-operate with the Ministry of Finance on the recently inaugurated Project Light House.
Acting Director-General of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, said this in a statement by SEC’s Head of Media, Mrs Efe Ebelo, on Sunday in Abuja. Uduk, while commending the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on the initiative, emphasised the need for relevant agencies to assist the Federal Government in revenue generation.
“It is clear that data and information will certainly aid the generation of more revenue.
“And in the long run, all agencies will be the better for it as there will be more resources for government to carry out development.
“Data gathering and sharing is the way to go especially in this digital age.
“When there is available data, information can be shared and that will be increase in compliance level as well as improved revenue generation,” she said.
Uduk said low revenue generation was a source of worry such that when the target was not met, government would not be able to provide critical infrastructure that would encourage investment in the country.
She therefore pledged the full co-operation of the SEC to ensure that relevant data were made available when needed by the committee.
Also, the Minister of Finance said one of the key economic policy objectives of the government, as contained in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), was improving it’s overall revenue, especially the non-oil revenue sources.
Ahmed said the government also aimed among other goals, to increase the tax base by drastically increasing the Company Income Tax and Value Added Tax compliance.
This she said, would bring in additional tax payers into the tax net, and increase Tax to GDP ratio from its current six per cent to 15 per cent by the year 2020.
Ahmed said that in the last few months, major steps had been taken to address the Nation’s chronic revenue challenges.
She listed some of the measures taken to include , Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives (SRGI), formulating policies and fiscal matters, preparing annual estimates of revenue and expenditure for the federal government among others.
“ We live in a technology and data-centric world but we lack the culture of using data and information to guide the formulation, implementation and impact assessment of our initiatives and policies.
“This has posed a number of challenges such as, our policies are not empirically based, we are not able to effectively track implementation and impact of these policies and we lack data to help guide the revision or optimisation of the policies,” he said.
She said the Federal Ministry of Finance, however, initiated the Project Lighthouse as a means of resolving these challenges.”
She said the first phase involved mining of data from multiple sources to support the implementation of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).
“Following the ratification of Project Lighthouse at the Federal Executive Council on May 9, the Ministry of Finance is entering into a post-VAIDS or phase two of the project.
“However, Project Lighthouse is being positioned as a single source of truth for revenue and tax related intelligence.
“This will support the ministry, related agencies and other stakeholders to be better positioned to address the revenue challenges we are facing.
“Lighthouse will be using Big Data Analytics, data sciences and related technologies to gather and analyse financial data and revenue related data from multiple but related sources.
“It will also use sophisticated data analysis tools to connect the dots between the different data sets.
“All these are aimed at supporting the ministry to deliver on its statutory mandate,” she said.