Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has constituted a committee led by the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, to recover about N450 billion being un-remitted operating surpluses of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The Minister also directed the AGF to issue a circular limiting allowable expenses that can be spent as part of measures to ensure the agencies face strict monitoring, while internal leakages are sealed.
The Spokesman of the Finance Minister, Festus Akanbi, who stated this yesterday in Abuja, said the thrust of the committee’s job was to reconcile the operating surpluses of 31 revenue-generating agencies of government between 2010 and 2015, as what they presented was far lower than what it ought to be.
“The findings of the committee so far have shown under-remittance of over N450 billion, which had accrued within the period,” Akanbi said. He added that staff of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation have critically reviewed the accounting statements of the 31 agencies, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), among others.
“The committee will therefore be inviting the management of these agencies to explain why their operating surpluses have not been remitted as mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007,” he added.
Akanbi said some of the agencies have incurred huge expenses on overseas training, medicals and other gargantuan spending on behalf of their respective supervisory ministries and other organs of government involved in oversight or regulatory functions without appropriate approvals.
“Other infractions include payment of salaries and allowances to staff and board members, governing councils and commissions, which are outside or above the amount approved by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
“The list also includes unacceptable expenses incurred on donations, sponsorships, etc; unfavourable contract signed for revenue collection by a third party; granting of staff loans that have not been repaid as well as sale and transfer of assets to board members, among others.
The spokesman further explained that the Ministry’s powers to carry out the task was in fulfilment of Sections 21 and 22 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, which specifically states that “government corporations and agencies and government-owned companies listed in the Schedule to this Act (in this Act referred of as ‘the Corporations’) shall, not later than six months from the commencement of this Act and every three financial years thereafter and not later than the end of the second quarter of every year, cause to be prepared and submitted to the Minister their Schedule estimates of revenue and expenditure for the next three financial years.
“Section 21 (2) states that “each of the bodies referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall submit to the Minister not later than the end of August in each financial year:
a. An annual budget derived from the estimates submitted in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section; and
b. Projected operating surplus, which shall be prepared in line with acceptable accounting practices.
3) The Minister shall cause the estimates submitted in pursuance of subsection (2) of this section to be attached as part of the Appropriation Bill to be submitted to the National Assembly.
22. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of any written law governing the corporation, each corporation shall establish a general reserve fund and shall allocate thereto at the end of each financial year, one-fifth of its operating surplus for the year.
2) The balance of the operating surplus shall be paid into the Consolidate Revenue Fund of the Federal Government not later than one month following the statutory deadline for publishing each corporation’s accounts,” he said.