February 14, 2024

N34 trillion generated into FG’s account – REMITA

Appointments qiuota

By Gift ChapiOdekina, Abuja

The Managing Director/CEO of REMITA, Deremi Atanda, said the sum of N34.311 trillion in revenue was generated through the REMITA platform into the federation account between 2015 and 2022.

Atanda disclosed this on Wednesday during the investigative hearing on ‘alleged revenue leakages through the REMITA platform and non-compliance substantively with standard operating procedures and other allied service agreements’, held at the instance of the House Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by Hon. Bamidele Salam.

In the bid to ascertain the veracity of the agreement signed between the Central Bank and Systemspec/REMITA on revenue collection, the Committee resolved to invite the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, and CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, to appear in person to give an account of the roles played by each of the institutions in the contract agreement.

According to the documents presented to the Committee, instead of N343.109 billion in fee income due at a contracted rate of one percent flat, which the stakeholders are entitled to (against the conventional five to seven percent fee), according to the agreement signed in 2015, the sum of N23.922 billion in actual fee income was applied.

Based on the 2018 circular on the chargeable fees guidelines on e-collection, the sharing formular showed that all the stakeholders are to share the sum of N150 per transaction: banks (33%), CBN (11%), NIBBS (10.5%), and the Office of Accountant General of the Federation (oAGF) (2.5%), while REMITA and other stakeholders, including card issuers, are entitled to 43% of the chargeable fees.

While dismissing the insinuation that REMITA imposed an additional fee apart from the approved N150 (which represents 10 cents at the current exchange rate) on the revenue-generating MDAs, Mr. Atanda disclosed that the REMITA payment gateway platform provides additional technology services to the Federation at no cost, despite paying in foreign exchange for hosting the platform on a cloud-based platform.

According to him, the sum of N1.5 trillion was remitted through the platform in 2015, N2.8 trillion in 2016, N3.7 trillion in 2017, N4.6 trillion in 2018, N4.6 trillion in 2019, N4.2 trillion in 2020 being the COVID year, N6 trillion in 2021, and N6.8 trillion was realized in the 2022 fiscal year, respectively.

Atanda, who confirmed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) engaged REMITA to provide the service as part of efforts geared towards shoring up revenue accrued to the Federation, affirmed that relevant agreements were signed and standard operating procedures were followed.

According to him, the one percent agreement fee payable to all the stakeholders involved in the contract agreement was reached in 2020 following an earlier investigative hearing conducted where CBN, banks, REMITA, and other staff involved were asked to refund the chargeable fees collected from the services provided since inception.

He also disclosed that the CBN and office of the Accountant General of the Federation have 100 percent access to the platform, while all revenues accruing to each of the 1,137 MDAs that pay through the REMITA platform get the funds immediately, and such revenues are accessed by the apex bank on a daily basis.

While responding to a question about the possible area of leakages, Atanda urged the Parliament to ensure that all dollar-related revenue should be captured into the revenue collection gateway, as the focus has been strictly on naira revenue over the past eight to nine years.

He, however, noted that the number of MDAs that pay through REMITA has been inconsistent, as some get approval to pull out at various times.

He also dismissed the allegation that REMITA has some unaccounted for revenue, adding that there is no N29 billion accrued from the National Housing Fund (NHF) trapped on the Remita payment platform, as alleged by one of the lawmakers.

While responding to a question on the contract signed with Remita, the Accountant General of the Federation, who was represented by Director Single Treasury, Mr. Mohammed Bello, disclosed that the 2.5% fee accrued to oAGF goes directly into the Federal Government’s account, not OAGF’s account.

He also added that efforts are ongoing to capture revenue being paid through foreign exchange into a revenue payment platform, adding that the pilot scheme arrangement being worked out in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs will come up in the next few weeks.

While ruling, Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Bamidele Salam, underscored the need for the physical appearance of the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, CBN Governor, and Accountant General of the Federation before the Committee, on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.