By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate Ad-hoc Committee on alleged misuse, under-remittance and other fraudulent activities in revenue collection has revealed that many agencies of the Federal Government shortchanged it to the tune of N1.7 trillion through under remittance between 2012 and 2016.
According to the Senate, the N1.695,585,887,406 reportedly lost by the Federal Government during the period under review is from N21.5 trillion generated by 93 agencies covered.
The committee also in its report, which was laid last Thursday and billed for consideration this week, disclosed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which is one of such revenue generating agencies, ran at a deficit of N3.1 trillion during the period under review.
In the 32-page report, obtained yesterday, 25 of the entire 93 revenue generating agencies covered, were alleged to have defrauded the Federal Government of N1.7 trillion.
NNPC, in particular, during the period which was reviewed, generated N15.541 trillion, just as its entire expenditure during the period was N18.657 trillion, thereby exceeding the corporation’s revenue profile by N3.115 trillion.
The committee of eight members, with Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West) as chairman, was constituted on Tuesday, November 30, 2016.
It followed a resolution by -the Senate to investigate the alleged misuse, under-remittance and other fraudulent practices in collection, accounting, remittances and expenditure of internally generated revenue by all revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government from January 2012 to December 2016.
In the report, the Nigerian Customs Service which generated N335.855billion, failed to remit N83.963billion as 25% of the amount generated in line with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
Similar negative report was made on FIRS by the committee, which disclosed that the agency generated N455.5billion, but had under-remittance of N33.83billion.
Also included is the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA which recorded under remittance of N86.636 billion into the Consolidated Revenue Fund ( CRF) despite generating N789.104billion.
Others are CBN, N13.716 under remittance out out of N3.098trillion generated , NIMASA with N184.489billion under remittance out of N301.160billion generated , NTA N5.567billion under remittance out of N56.817billion generated etc.
The committee however observed that revenue generating agencies chose to comply with a directive via a memo, dated November 11, 2011, Ref. No. BO/RVE/12235/259/VII/201 by the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, to remit 25% only from the revenue generated and use the remaining 75% as part of its expenditure which is a clear violation of section 1200) of the 1999 Constitution Of the FEM Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and also a violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the Establishment Acts of some of these Institutions.
In the report, the committee said most of the revenue generating agencies denied the Auditor General of the Federation access to their financial books and records which is in conflict with section 125, subsection (3) a (i and ii) in an: subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).etc.
The committee recommended “that the Senate should amend the laws where necessary to make it mandatory for all 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).
“That the Fiscal Responsibility Act should be amended in a way to compel all agencies and institutions of government on compliance with financial regulations regarding income generation, accounting and remittances.
“That 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.
“That the National Assembly should direct the immediate stoppage of the implementation of the contents of the memo by the former Minister of Finance and agencies and institutions should adopt the new mode of remittances as approved by the Senate.
“That the Fiscal Responsibility AcT (2007) should further be amended to make all revenue generating agencies to pay 30% of their income generated monthly to the Consolidated Revenue Account before any expenditure etc.”