The Senate Committee on Finance has revealed that 60 federal government agencies failed to remit a total of about N3 trillion in six years, contrary to provisions of the constitution and Fiscal Responsibility Act. The failure of key revenue-generating agencies to pay what they generated into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) has been a source of financial bankruptcy of the Federal Government and a cause of huge borrowing, particularly from 2015 to date. Chairman of the committee, Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West), who revealed the development to journalists, Yesterday, stated that the breach was uncovered during the panel’s ongoing investigation of remittances by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs). The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Director-General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, Auditor-General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed, and other heads of MDAs appeared before the Senate committee during the ongoing probe of revenue remittances by MDAs between 2014 to 2020 and payment of 1% Stamp Duty on all contract awards by the MDAs within the same period.
On her part, Ahmed revealed that some of the affected parastatals have started crediting government coffers with the outstanding revenues they generated in the last six years.
According to Adeola “The reconciliation done so far by the Office of Accountant General of the Federation is in excess of over a trillion Naira going to like two, three trillion Naira or thereabouts and these monies are still hanging in the hands of these agencies and we have asked the office of Accountant General to get the money into the government coffers and we discovered that they are giving them a payment notice without necessarily following up this process.
“We have noticed that in the so-called 80 percent of operational surplus the agencies refer to, many of these agencies proved frivolous expenditure and they have taken advantage of the current system and refuse to remit this amount as at when due. We tried to audit the account of these agencies year in year out for the past five years and some of the revelations are scary. How do we explain that an agency of government that has a provision in the budget for Capital, Overhead, and Personnel, in their audited account, they have gross revenue of N500 million and they are asking for N200 million?”.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that if these revenues are paid to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for proper appropriation by the parliament during budget considerations, we are going to reduce dramatically the size of our deficit and hopefully, minimise our borrowing.
“We cannot continue to run government business as we used to do in this time when there are huge demands for the government to fund needed infrastructure and other socio-economic programmes”.
Adeola added that since the commencement of the investigations some agencies have complied with the committee’s directive with some of them paying back tens of millions of Naira with receipts to show from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.