Fed Govt’s MDAs ‘keeping N1.2tr illegally’
The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) yesterday accused Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government of keeping N1.2 trillion in their coffers illegally
It said the MDAs were truncating the accountability and transparency in handling government revenue by failing to abide by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
The Commission said over N1.2 trillion in revenue was still being with held by defaulting agencies that have refused to remit their 80 per cent Operating Surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, adding that several MDAs still persist in defaulting and keeping money away from the government reach for funding of its budget.
The Commission said over 60 per cent of government agencies have failed to associate their yearly budget with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), the template for which the Federal Government budgets is prepared.
Chairman of the Commission, Victor Muruaku, who spoke while addressing Assembly Correspondents, also indicted about 32 government agencies for failing 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.
Among the agencies are the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp, Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, National Broadcasting Commission, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, National Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, National Sports Commission, Administrative Staff College of Nigeria and National Business and Technical Examination Board among others.
The FRC Chairman said while the Fiscal Responsibility Act provided for offences, it failed to make provision for sanction and punishment, thereby making implementation difficult
Muruako said 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.
According to him, through the persistent and continuous engagement of MDAs by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and especially with the support of the National Assembly, the Federal Government’s share of Operating Surplus from these Corporations has continued to increase over the years.
“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.
“Sadly, many MDAs still persist in defaulting and practically keeping money away from the federal government’s reach for funding its budgets. Our records indicate that over N12 Trillion is still in the hands of defaulting MDAs.
“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.”
He disclosed 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 further that from the agency’s verification of government capital projects, it was discovered that 60 per cent of government agencies often undertaking more projects than they can handle because they fail to abide by the approved MTEF.
He also said that the penchant of approving new contracts by new government to the detriment of existing contracts as well as inadequate funding has led to several abandoned projects across the country.