The Senate Committee on Finance says about N2 trillion revenue may have been trapped with Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government or spent on frivolous expenditures.
The committee, chaired by Senator Solomon Adeola, is probing revenue remittances by over 700 MDAs between 2014-2020 and payment of 1% Stamp Duty on all contract awards by the MDAs within the same period.
Speaking over the weekend when the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, alongside other officials appeared before the committee, Adeola said the panel’s weeks-long investigation revealed that many agencies committed all manner of illegalities relating to the expenditure of government funds that should rightly be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
He said most of the MDAs abused the concept of operating surpluses to shortchange the government as well as relying on ministerial circulars over and above the Constitution and FRA 2007 as passed by the National Assembly. He also lampooned the Office of Accountant-General of the Federation for not being firm on collecting the operational surplus hanging in those agencies.
He said: “The reconciliation done so far by the Office of Accountant General of the Federation is in excess of over a trillion naira going to like N2tRn thereabout and these monies are still hanging in the hand of these agencies.
“We’ve asked Office of Accountant General that what are they doing to get the money into the government coffer. We discovered that they’re giving them a payment notice without necessarily following up this process.
“We’ve noticed that the so-called 80% of operational surplus we’re referenced to, many of these agencies proved frivolous expenditure and they’ve taken advantage of the current system and refuse to remit this amount as at when due.”
Responding, the minister acknowledged that in recent times, there had be noticeable increase in revenue from agencies directed paid into the CRF.
She said the executive was scrutinizing the application of the template of calculating and deducting operating surpluses by agencies of government to ensure that the right amount were paid to the government.