BY OKEY NDIRIBE & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA – The Federal Government has been losing over N300 billion annually due to unremitted revenues from some of its agencies.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin, while contributing to a motion on the full implementation of the 2012 budget.
He stated that some of the federal agencies summoned by his committee to explain the various roles they had played in the unfolding situation had so refused to honour the invitation sent them.
He requested the speaker to use his good offices to compel the affected agencies to honour the invitation by his committee.
He identified the agencies to include Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, and Nigerian Customs Service, NCS. Others include Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, and Pension Commission, PENCOM.
Jibrin revealed that the affected agencies rather than remit 80 percent of their independently generated revenue to the Federal Government, they have never remitted more than between 10 and 20 percent of their operating surpluses.
He also revealed that it was only one of the affected agencies that remits 50 percent of its operating surplus to the Federal government out of 60.
The lawmaker also categorized the 60 agencies into four, whereby some refused outrightly to remit their operating surplus while another group remitted but not in compliance with the law.
Another group comprised of those agencies that generated operating surplus but rather than remit, they keep it in a deposit account to generate interest.
He, however, gave reason behind the recalcitrant attitude of the agencies, saying, “To justify their action, these agencies blow up their expenditure to swallow their operating surpluses.
Said he:”Sadly, it is the money-spinning agencies that indulge in this more. Over N150 billion was found to be unmerited by these agencies.
“For instance, in 2011, NNPC’s operating surplus target was N500 billion and was expected to remit 80 percent but remitted nothing. NPA operating surplus was N160 billion for the same period but its expenditure was creatively blown to N160 billion.
CBN’s operating surplus for 2012 was N240 billion but its expenditure was put at N234 billion. For 2013, CBN operating surplus target was N400 billion but as usual, its expenditure was creatively put at N390 billion.
“And this is an organization whose Chief Executive was advocating for the sack of half of Federal Government workforce.
The independent revenue is a huge issue and there is no way the passage of the 2013 budget would be possible until we deal with the remittances because we intend to compel all the agencies involved to remit what they are supposed to remit and it is our intention to add it to the budget for 2013.
In his response to Hon. Jibrin’s request that the House summons the affected agencies, the Speaker Hon. Aminu Tambuwal said the request ran counter to procedure.
Said he: “The procedure is, if any Committee of the House is having difficulty in summoning any person in Nigeria, Section 89 of the constitution empowers the parliament to compel the attendance of anybody”.
He asked Hon. Jibrin to put his request in writing and it would be granted.