By Christiana Ekpa
Senate Ad-Hoc committee has revealed that 25 agencies have short changed the Federal Government to the tune of N1,695 trillion by deliberately refusing to remit revenue accrued to Consolidated Revenue Fund account.
This was just as the committee also disclosed that, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was running on deficit to the tune of N3.115 trillion within the time frame of 2012 to 2016.
The committee disclosed that over 600 agencies are involved, but listed 92 of them, just as it stated that, the 25 agencies that are responsible for about 75% of the expected remittances were not credited to Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) The 25 generating agencies that were involved in the under remittance includes:
Nigeria Communication Commission, Nigerian Television Authority NTA, Corporate Affairs Commission CAC, Bureau of Public Enterprise, Sugar Development Corporation of Nigerian, Securities and Exchange Commission, The Nigerian Custom Services, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Nigeria Shipper Council, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency,and Central Bank of Nigeria among .The committee titled ‘’Senate Special Ad-Hoc Committee on Alleged Mis-Use, Under Remittance and Other Fraudulent Activities in Collection Account, Remittance and Expenditure of IGR by Revenue Generating Agencies’’ which was set up in December 2016 laid its interim report at the senate plenary last Thursday.
The committee led by Senator Olamilekan S. Adeola was mandated by the Senate to investigate all Agencies and institutions of government charged with the responsibility of generating, collecting, accounting and Remittance of Internal Generated Revenue, IGR.
According to the committee, the total revenue generated by the agencies between 2012 to 2016 was N21.5 trillion.
The Ad-hoc committee also uncovered that, the Ministry of Finance has not been carrying out its statutory oversight on NNPC account adequately, just as the committee disclosed that, NNPC has the highest revenue generating figures worth N15.5 trillion, followed CBN which was N3.1 trillion.
It could be recall that, the federal government had requested the Senate to approved N5.5 billion dollar of foreign loan to finance 2017 budget deficit.
The committee observed that, the revenue generating agencies chose to comply with a directive Via a memo dated 11’“ November 2011 Ref. No. BO/RVE/12235/259/VII/201 by the former Minister of Finance, 1)“ Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to remit 25% only from the revenue generated and use the remaining 75% as part of its expenditure which is a clear violation of section 1200) of the 1999 Constitution Of the FEM Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and also a violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the Establishment Acts of some of these Institutions.
“Most of the revenue generating agencies deny the Auditor General of the Federation access to their financial books and records which is in conflict with section 125, subsection (3) a (i and ii) in an subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“Some revenue generating agencies do not have resident treasury officers posted by the Accountant General of the Federation, 1415 making it difficult to access their financial records.
“Almost all the government agencies, fully funded or partially funded from federal government appropriations, complain of shot-“fall in their funding. This affects both capital and recurrent cost. In some cases. salaries have to be supplemented from Internally Generated Revenue.
“The poor funding of these agencies affected their revenue generation capacity and their remittances to the consolidated revenue fund. Some agencies keep poor or opaque financial records, thus it became very difficult to make profit or declare surplus “Some government agencies are short staffed thus have to engage casual staff to meet operational needs these staff had to be paid from the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR “In some case contractors and consultants are engaged by supervising ministries to carry out statutory functions of the agencies, for instance Nigeria Immigration Service had most of her duties contracted out”
The committee in its recommendation urged the senate to amend the laws where necessary to make it mandatory for all Revenue Generating Agencies to accommodate resident Auditors to be posted by the Auditor General of the Federation that will have access to all financial records and books, and to ensure compliance with section 120(i) of the 1999.