By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives has uncovered various infractions in the revenue declared by Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) worth N65.66 billion which it said were under remitted between 2014 and 2019.
Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. Abiodun James Faleke, raised the alarm during an investigative hearing into the under-remittances by some government agencies, held in Abuja.
According to Hon. Faleke, out of total sum of N9.48 billion expected revenue from FAAN, the agency remitted N500 million in 2014; remitted N2.15 billion out of N10.89 billiin in 2015 and N1.565 billion remitted out of N11.6 billion expected revenue in 2016.
In the same vein, FAAN remitted total sums of N1.511 billion, N1.778 billion and N1.539 billion against N13.19 billion, N14 billion and N15.49 billion expected revenues for 2017, 2018 anf 2019 fiscal years respectively.
According to him, out of total sum of N74.663 billion expected revenue from FAAN between 2014 to 2019, the sum of N9 billion was remitted within the period under review.
The Committee while querying the FAAN management over the discrepancies between the internally generated revenue realized by FAAN and the records provided by the Auditor General of the Federation, demanded for original copies of all the receipts of payments.
While expressing dismay over the level of disregard and impunity perpetuated by previous FAAN management, Hon. Faleke urged the new management to be different in discharging their responsibility.
While responding to various allegations on the under-remittances, FAAN Managing Director, Rabiu Yadudu argued that the agency cannot afford to comply with the extant financial regulations on remittance of 25% operating surplus.
He explained that out of the 23 existing airports, 18 are not viable, while the revenue accruing from the 3 viable airports are used to subsidize the 18 inviable airports.
Yadudu added that relevant documents which highlights various constraints facing the agency have been submitted to the supervisory ministry for onward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari and its inability to comply with the extant financial regulations on remittance of 25% operating surplus.
While reacting to the FAAN submission, Hon. Faleke who frowned at the argument, maintained that the under-remitted amount was above the money borrowed by Federal Government to finance the budget deficit.
Hon. Faleke who warned that nobody is above the law, stressed that “even Mr. President is not above the law.”
He however urged the FAAN Managing Director to seek for presidential approval of specific funding to enhance the performance of the agency, rather than running foul of the law.
To this end, he directed the FAAN Managing Director to provide relevant documents of remittances made so far and reasons why the agency defaulted in meeting its financial obligations as provided by the financial regulations within one week, just as he directed that all outstanding revenue should be paid into government coffer without further delay.