Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC – Lagos), on Sunday said that Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) did not remit over N3 trillion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government between 2014 and 2020.
Disclosing this in a statement in Abuja, Senator Adeola said that the Senate’s investigation on the failure to remit 1% stamp duty by MDAS within the same time period made the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the DG of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, present themselves to the committee.
Adeola said that the unremitted revenue may have been trapped with the MDAs or spent on frivolous expenditures.
He said this is contrary to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007.
According to Adeola, “The committee decided to probe the revenue remittances by agencies of government.
“The government cannot continue to borrow yearly while the revenue from agencies that the government is financing with the borrowings are spent contrary to the laws of the land.
“From submissions already made and calculations from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, about 60 Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs), may have about N3 trillion of government revenue still unremitted in their coffers. Or already spent on frivolous expenditure contrary to the Constitution and FRA 2007,” Adeola said.
He said that since the commencement of the investigation, some agencies had complied in paying back millions of naira with receipts from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
The senator said that if these revenues were paid to the CRF for proper appropriation by the parliament during budget considerations, the size of the nation’s deficit would be reduced and hopefully minimise borrowing.
“We cannot continue to run government business as we used to do in this time when there are huge demands for government to fund needed infrastructure and other socio-economic programmes” he said.
Adeola also revealed that the investigation has also led to the willing exit of some agencies from the budget of the government, while relying on their generated revenue to fund aspects of their operations.
He noted that this would reduce their dependence on the federation budget and assist in reducing budget deficits.
Responding, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed commended the committee for the ongoing probe of revenue remittances.
She noted that in recent times, there had been a noticeable increase in revenue from agencies to the CRF as required by law.
The minister, however, explained that the executive arm is also examining the application of the template of calculating and deducting operating surpluses by agencies of government.
She said this is to ensure that the right amount was paid to government.