By Patrick Andrew and Umar Mohammed Puma
The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has directed the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) to probe the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Drugs Law Enforcement Commission (NAFDAC), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and other revenue yielding agencies of government over non-remittances to the Federation Account.
The committee has equally mandated the Commission to submit forthwith names of all MDAs and agencies which have so far failed to submit their books to the FRC for scrutiny as well as ensure that its statutory responsibility is not usurped by any sister agency.
These directives were given yesterday when the chairman of the Committee, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin led members to an oversight visit where it assured that the National Assembly will do everything possible to forestall efforts to either merge the FRC with any other agency or be scrapped.
The Chairman, said with the dwindling oil prices, it was necessary for the FRC to step up its insistence on these finance yielding agencies to remit their dues to the Federation Account.
Jubrin said the resort to the Oronsaye report, which had recommended the merger of the FRC with the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) or for it to be scraped, by these agencies to decline FRC’s request to have their books scrutinised, to determine what they should remit to the Federation Account, does not hold water with House Committee on Finance.
He also dismissed the rumour being pandered by some of the defaulting agencies that the FRC’s powers will be whittled down, stating instead that the commission will be strengthened by amending its extant law to hand it the legal teeth to conduct its business as required by law.
“We will do everything to make sure that the Fiscal Responsibility Commission is not scrapped or merged. Scrapping or merging the commission will be a misplaced priority,” he said, stressing that neither the Ministry of Finance nor the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has the statutory powers to arbitrarily mandate any agency of government to pay certain amount without recourse to the FRC.
Jibrin, was responding to the complaints of the Acting Chairman of the Commission, Victor Muruako, who had lamented the dire financial status of the commission whose budgetary allocation was reduced from N220m to a mere N53m.