Insecurity

*as NPA, FRC bicker over N255bn liability

By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

House of Representatives, yesterday, showed displeasure to the constant borrowing quest of the federal government.

It however heaped the blame some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for not utilizing their revenues, thereby starving the federal government the funds to execute projects.

Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. James Faleke expressed the disclosure at the ongoing public hearing on the 2022/2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

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Faleke said that the plan to borrow N5.62 trillion to finance deficit in the 2022 budget was uncalled if MDAs still had funds with them.

He added that the House will remove any unnecessary capital projects of some MDAs in order to raise funds for the government.

He said: “We are not you happy the way Nigeria is borrowing N5.62 trillion and we have some fund somewhere staying fallow without being used. For God sake, let us build this country together for the sake of all of us.”

The committee also directed the Nigeria Communication Commission, NCC to provide the turnover of amount realized from all network operators from 2018 to 2020.

According to the Committee chairman, the development will help the committee scrunitze their records to determine the propriety or otherwise of the country’s revenue proposal for 2022 to 2024.

In its presentation at the hearing, the Head of Monitoring, Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), Bello Gulmare told the lawmakers that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has failed to submit its audited accounts as and when due.

“The NPA has only submitted up to 2018 audited financial statement. We are yet to receive 2019 and 2020. Their liability is N255 billion. Their general liability is 235 billion. In our record, we have remittances of N179.6billion, that gives rise to net operating surplus of N255 billion”, he said.

Reacting, the NPA’s General Manager Finance, Emeka Ezengwu explained that the FRC has outdated account, hence the N255billion liability.

Ezengwu however stated that the agency was up-to-date on its revenue generation, informing that N338 billion was its target for revenue generation in 2022.

He said: “2019 has already been approved by the board, 2020 is ongoing. FRC has not done any reconciliation with the NPA for the past 4years. The figure is brandishing does not align with what we have. We have done reconciliation with Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC). We are also engaging the accountant general office right now and we have a letter from them inviting us for reconciliation.”

Ruling on the matter, Chairman of the Committee, Faleke recognized FRC as the statutory body to monitor remittances and advised NPA to reconcile with it for the presentation of its audited report to the National Assembly.

“By law, when it comes to remittances, this office (FRC) is superior to the Accountant General Office. This is a constitutional office, it is not just created by an act of the National Assembly. It is important that you reconcile with the FRC, you should be eager to reconcile them. If their report is laid before the National Assembly, and you are found wanting, it has consequences. So, reconcile within 2 weeks.

“We have ruled that we need a comprehensive list of all agreements reached by NPA with its tenant, indicating how much each of those tenants are supposed to be paying on a monthly or annual basis and copies of the agreements be attached. We need all the account details of the JVC accounts,” he said.

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