The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has accused about 32 government agencies of failing to remit their 80 per cent operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), thereby hindering accurate determination of operating surplus liabilities and diminishing accountability and transparency in handling government revenue.
The commission said over N1.2 trillion in revenue was still being withheld by the defaulting agencies, keeping money away from government’s reach for funding of its budget.
The Chairman of the Commission, Victor Muruako, who spoke while briefing National Assembly correspondents Wednesday, said the agencies failed to submit their audited account to the commission to enable it calculate their operating surplus which is supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.
Murako said over 60 per cent of the agencies have always failed to associate their annual budget with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the template for which annual federal government budgets is prepared.
The agencies are ”the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry (BoI), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), National Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, National Sports Commission (NSC), Administrative Staff College of Nigeria and National Business and Technical Examination Board (NBTEB).”
Others are ”Cement Technology Institute of Nig, Centre for Black African Arts & Civilization, Chad Basin National Park, Gashaka Gumti National Park, Gurara Water Management Authority, Hadejia-Jamaare River Basin Development Authority, Kainji Lake National Park, National Food Reserve Agency, National Lottery Trust Fund, National Theatre Iganmu Lagos, National Troupe Iganmu Lagos, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Nigerian Copyright Commission, Nigerian Railway Corporation and Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria.”
Muruako explained that by the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, government-owned enterprises and corporations are supposed to remit 80 per cent of their operating surplus to the CRF at the end of every year to make money available for government to fund the annual budget.
He said that some of the agencies have also developed the habit of writing to withdraw their audited account after the commission must have calculated their operating surplus which is done after the agencies has submitted such audited account.
He said while the Fiscal Responsibility Act provide for offences, it however failed to make provision for sanction and punishment, thereby making implementation difficult.
According to him, ”From our records, the total figure paid as Operating Surplus since the establishment of the PRC to date is beyond N2.15 trillion, which by the way, could not have been possible without the Act and the commission, given that there would have been no law, rule, regulation or institution requiring such returns. These figures are confirmed from our analysis of the annual audited financial reports submitted to our commission by the concerned agencies.
”Much more is yet out there in the hands of MDAs that either have failed to dutifully audit their accounts or that have done so but choose not to forward copies of their audited financial reports to the commission as required by law.”
The chairman further said that from the agency’s verification of government capital projects, it was discovered that 60 per cent of government agencies often undertake more projects than they can handle because they fail to abide by the approved MTEF.
He added that the penchant of approving new contracts by government to the detriment of existing contracts, as well as inadequate funding has led to several abandoned projects across the country.
Culled from Thisday Newspapers