Yakubu's confirmation, 2021 budget, PIB, others top agenda as Senate resumes Nov 24

By Henry Umoru, Abuja

The Senate has concluded arrangements to summon the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU to appear before it where they will come head to head with revenue-generating agencies for the general audit of the Treasury Single Account since 2015.

According to the Senate, with their appearances, the EFCC and NFIU will help monitor the probe of these revenue-generating agencies of government.

Also to appear before the Senator Olamilekan Adeola, APC, Lagos West led Senate Committee on Finance are the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, among others.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja, Senator Adeola issued a strong warning to revenue-generating agencies of the federal government over what he described as an attempt by some agencies to undermine the ongoing probe on treasury single account (TSA) of the federal government.

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According to him, the warning was sequel to failure by some revenue agencies to appear before the committee to account for revenue generated and expenditures carried out from the 2015-2019 fiscal years and the inability of others to provide detailed accounts for the same purposes.

Senator Adeola spoke when the Executive Chairman of Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Victor Muruako raised an objection against the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council Mr Hassan Bello who failed to provide a document that was asked for to ascertain that the agency has been working in compliance and in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act which provides that 80% of its operational surpluses should be remitted to the federation account or against the provision.

Executive Secretary, Shippers Council also acknowledged a breach in the Fiscal Responsibility Act when he told the Committee members, saying that: ” it is true that we should remit 25% but unfortunately I don’t have the document here. I will like the crave the indulgence of this Committee to allow go back and come back to submit.”

The committee is currently investigating activities of revenue-generating agencies, monies generated, remitted and expended since the implementation of TSA in 2015.

Not happy with the development, Senator Adeola declared that the Senate will leave no stone unturned to ensure that every revenue generated for the federal government since 2015 is accounted for.

He said: “In this proceedings, we are having the Fiscal Responsibility Commission with us, the accountant general’s office, EFCC as an observer and NFIU also as an observer”.

“While the Fiscal Responsibility Commission will engage us in terms of trying to go head to head with revenue-generating agencies, we also want the accountant general’s office, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission to even audit the TSA account”.

“Since the inception that TSA has come to stay, there has not been an audit to this particular account and there is a need for us to know the status of that account for over six years now.

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“We are investing the revenue-generating agencies and at the same time, these revenue-generating agencies are paying money into this account. How they pay monies into that account. We have to find out.

“That is why I have invited the accountant general, the CBN and Fiscal Responsibility Commission to appear before the Committee. It is a special invitation”, he further noted.

Earlier, Chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission who accused the Shippers Council of gross violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act without recourse, said, “I want to observe that Nigeria Shippers Council is in constant violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act in utmost humility. From my records, I would persistently act on them to let us have their financial report from 2016-2019.

“Apart from that, we have problems reconciling their remittances to the consolidated revenue funds of the federal government. The basic challenge is that the Fiscal Responsibility Commission has continued to remind them of their obligation to remit what is appropriate.

“What we analysed from their own report, is different from what they are remitting. Several times we had to write to them and remind them of this but most times they will send us a letter from the Accountant General’s office that they have been cleared of such.”

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