The legislative arm of government is on the move again. For some time now, the hallowed chamber’s focus seems to be on revenue generation, taking into consideration remittances and expenditure of revenue-generating Ministries Department and Agencies. Just like with the lower chambers of the National assembly recently raising an alarm over massive illicit financial flows within these MDAs, the Senate has now taken up the investigative baton.
This time, the Senate is investigating the fact behind massive unremitted sum hitting ₦2 trillion suspected to have been misappropriated on extravagant spendings by suspected MDAs especially at a time the nation is in dire need of resources.
The seriousness of the investigation became obvious when the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed accompanied by other officials appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance, recently to elucidate on how funds were disbursed into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The admittance by the Minister on the failure to increase revenue from MDAs into the Consolidated Revenue Fund has added credence to the claims of the Senate. However, the minister hinted that inspection is ongoing to examine the current template used to calculate and deduct operating surpluses to ensure the accuracy of remittances.
Taxmobile.Online learnt that the several week-long investigations before summoning the minister has its focus on the remittances of over 700 MDAs spanning a period of 16 years from 2014 to 2020. The payment of 1% Stamp Duty on all contracts awarded by these MDAs within the same period is also brought on a spotlight.
Senator Solomon Adeola, Chairman Senate Committee on Finance revealed in a recent plenary that several agencies are indicted in diverse illegalities relating to the expenditure of government funds instead of remitting to the government coffers via the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
On the modus operandi of these erring MDAs, it was discovered that most of them take advantage of the operating surpluses clause in the constitution to shortchange the system by depending solely on circulars from ministries rather than constitutional provisions and the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 as enacted by the National Assembly.
The Office of Accountant General was also entangled in this web of irregularities for the lack of tenacity in collecting these operating surpluses from identified agencies.
Senate claims below,
“The reconciliation done so far by the Office of Accountant General of the Federation is more than over a trillion naira going to like ₦2trn 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 on this process.
“We’ve noticed that the so-called 80% of the operating 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.”