Transparency: Commission alleges MDAs fail to remit N1.2trn revenue to CRF

*The Fiscal Responsibility Commission says over 60 percent of the Nigerian Government agencies fail to match their annual budgets with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the template for which annual Federal Government budgets are prepared

*Lists the affected government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For purported lack of transparency and accountability in public accounting system to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has accused 32 government agencies of practically abusing the approved process of handling revenue by failing to abide by the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

ConsumerConnect reports the regulatory Commission disclosed that more than N1.2 trillion in revenue is still being withheld by defaulting government agencies in the country.

Mr. Victor Muruako, Chairman of FRC, while addressing correspondents, said the affected revenue-generating agencies had refused to remit their 80 percent operating Surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

The FRC Chief stressed that several Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) still persist in defaulting and practically keeping money away from government reach for funding of its budget for the overall good of the citizenry.

According to Muruako, over 60 percent of government agencies have always failed to associate their annual budget with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), the template for which the annual Federal Government’s budgets are prepared.

The Commission as well indicted approximately 32 government agencies for failing to submit their audited financial accounts to it in order to enable the regulator to calculate their operating Surplus, which is supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

He especially listed among other defaulting agencies as the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Bank of Agriculture (BoA), Bank of Industry (BoI), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

Others include Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), National Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, National Sports Commission (NSC), Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) and National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB).

The FRC Chairman said that while the Fiscal Responsibility Act provides for offences, it failed to make provision for sanctions and punishment, thereby making implementation of the legal provision difficult.

In regard to the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, Muruako noted government-owned enterprises and corporations are supposed to remit 80 percent 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, however, stated 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.

He further said: “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 N1.2 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.”

He added: “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.”

Some of the agencies have also developed the habit of writing to withdraw their audited accounts after the Commission must have calculated their operating Surplus, which is done after the agencies have submitted such audited accounts.

According to him, from the agency’s verification of government capital projects, it was discovered that 60 percent of government agencies often undertaking more projects than they can handle because they fail to abide by the approved MTEF.

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, noted Muruako.

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