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Senate says 26 agencies fail to remit N1.6trn to national coffers

by OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja

October 23, 2017 | 8:08 pm
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The Senate has disclosed that 26 revenue generating agencies shortchanged the Federal Government to the tune of N1.6 trillion in the last four years.

Specifically, the Senate ad-hoc committee investigating the alleged misuse, under-remittance by all Revenue Generating Agencies also revealed that the 26 agencies, which account for about 75 percent of the expected remittances to the Federal Government, generated N21,909,831,657,897 between January 2012 and December 2016.

The interim report, seen by BusinessDay on Monday, expressed dismay that revenue generating agencies refused to remit 80 percent of their surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in contravention of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as well as the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

The Committee chaired by Solomon Olamilekan, attributed the shortfall experienced in the receipt through IGR from agencies to inefficiency in revenue generation by the agencies over bloated expenses, failure to remit correctly and at when due at well as poor accounting procedure and book keeping.

The ad-hoc committee was set up in November 2016. Its report was laid last week and is expected to be considered this week.

According to the document, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) generated the highest revenue of N15.5 trillion as revenue in the period under review, but spent N18.6 trillion, leaving a deficit of N3.1 trillion.

It also indicated that the Central Bank of Nigeria generated N3.09 trillion and failed to remit N13.7 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The Nigeria Customs Service which generated N335.8billion failed to remit N83.96 billion which amounted to 25 percent of what it generated.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) according to the report generated N445.54 billion but could not remit N33.83 billion.

Similarly the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) which raised a total of N789.02 billion failed to remit N86.636 billion to the national treasury.

The panel observed that a memo by the immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, dated November 11, 2011 directed revenue generating agencies to remit 25 percent of revenue generated to the CRF, in clear violation of the 1999 Constitution and the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“The committee in the process of its exercise, discovered varied abuses and anomalies in the financial operations of the agencies and institutions of government. Most striking of these discoveries are opaque financial activities, lack of strict adherence to financial regulations. Over-bloated overheads, in many cases: deliberate refusal to remit or under remittances to the CRF.

“In this interim report, 25 of those agencies responsible for abouT 75% of the expected remittances are brought out on one by one cases,” the report indicated.

The committee therefore recommended the amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to compel all Revenue Generating Agencies to comply with financial regulations regarding income generation, accounting and remittances.

It also called for the amendment of the law to mandate 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 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

Also, it recommended that the Fiscal Responsibility AcT (2007) be further amended to make all Revenue Generating Agencies pay 30% of their income generated monthly to the Consolidated Revenue Account before any expenditure.

“The Senate should also amend the laws where necessary to make it mandatory for all revenue Generating Agencies to accommodate resident Treasury Officers to be posted by the Accountant General of The Federation that will have access to all financial records and books.

“The National Assembly should direct the immediate stoppage of the implementation of the contents of the Memo by the former Minister of Finance (Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) and Agencies and institutions should adopt the new mode of remittances as approved by the Senate,” the report read in part.

OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja


by OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja

October 23, 2017 | 8:08 pm
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