Teddy Oscar, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Monday warned that the inability of the Budget Office and some revenue generating ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to synergise could cause the 2014 Appropriation Bill from being passed.
Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin, chairman of the Committee on Finance, made this known during Day 2 of the interactive session between the committee and the revenue generating agencies on Monday.
Jibrin warned that, if drastic measures are not taken to get the best of working relationship between the Budget Office and some MDAs, the passage of the 2014 Appropriation bill may meet the brick wall.
During the second day of the interactive session, the duo of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had their presentations deferred till Wednesday because of lack clarity and inconsistencies in their submissions.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which was billed to appear before the committee on the second day, did not appear, but was, however, given 24 hours (Tuesday) to do so.
Similarly, the suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor did not afford CBN the chance to make its submission before the committee, which pegged the level of presenters to it as that of directors and above of any organisation.
Commenting on the situation, Jibrin, committee chairman, who observed the implication of lack of harmony between the Budget Office and the MDAs, following the submissions by NIMASA and FAAN.
Both agencies had stated that their organisations did not interface with the Budget Office, which submitted revenue projections for them to the committee.
Jibrin noted that the 2014 Budget appears may not be realistic due to some lacuna.
“Going by what we have just heard, it shows that the budget may only accumulate debts. The Budget Office submitted a document for revenue projections for the 2014 Budget, but here are some of the agencies saying no. For instance, the budget office projected the revenue of FAAN as N17.2 billion but FAAN is saying they projected N56 billion with a view to remitting N500 million during the fiscal year,” he said.
While probing the gap between the budget provisions and remittances of some of the MDAs, Jibrin wondered why they expend money that they were supposed to remit.
“Why will you spend without remitting. Your action is in breach of the laws of the land. We have to find ways out of this. Over the years the pattern of generation and remittances take the same pattern. Why? The whole thing looks like some arranged figures,” Jibrin stressed.
Based on this and the fact that some of the agencies like NIMASA spent without recourse to appropriation, Jibrin directed them to go and review their submissions and reflect their actual remittances.
Drawing their attention to a directive by the ministry of finance that all MDAs must remit 25 percent of their earnings as gross revenue to cut costs, he insisted that when re-presenting their submissions, they should indicate whether they have legal backing to incur expenditures they made and what authority gave them approval for their financial undertakings.
Turning to the CBN, Jibrin remarked that there is nothing that could have stopped the institution from sending a high powered delegation to the meeting.
“Nothing is standing still there. It is still running as normal. This is a serious issue. We won’t take a deputy director. Let the acting governor know that she has to appear in person,” he ruled.
Although, it has a backlog unaudited account for six years, NIMASA, which was given until March to do so, said its remittances, including that of this year, is. N21.4 billion.
Haruna Baba, executive director in charge of finance and administration, explained that the basis of the organisation’s contribution to federal coffers depends on the revenue they collect.
“Whatever we generate, we take out 30 percent for maritime infrastructure. Which we spend after an appropriation by the National Assembly,” he said.
On its part, FAAN justified its contentious 2014 revenue projection on the basis that it will be a gross revenue.
“The organisation depends solely on internally generated revenue. Before 2011, FAAN was not able to remit by way of surplus because it didn’t receive subvention at all from the Federal Government,” Adeniyi Balogun, director in charge of business development, said.
Recall that during Day 1 of the interactive session last Thursday, four agencies disclosed that they have generated more than N28 billion in three years (2011 to 2013) from their internally generated revenue (IGR).
The agencies include the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
During the event, Bello Mahmud, CAC registrar general, disclosed that CAC, which generated the total sum of N26.59 billion in the years under review, could not make a single remittance into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
In his presentation, Mallam Kabir Mashi, acting executive chairman, FIRS, submitted that the service generated the sum of N91.25 during the year under review, despite having a surplus of N3.269 billion in the same period.
The representative of Alhaji Abdullahi Inde Dikko, comptroller general of customs, John Atte, DCG, finance administration & technical service (FATS), said that NCS generated the sums of N33.04 million in 2011, N12.3 million in 2012 and N2.27 million in 2013.
In its submission, RMRDC revealed that it generated the sums of N9.4 million in 2011, N17 million in 2012 and N15.7 million in 2013.