The Federal Ministry of Finance says it has constituted a special committee to recover over N450 billion unremitted operating surpluses by government ministries, departments and agencies.
The committee led by the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, is mandated to reconcile the operating surpluses of the 31 government revenue-generating agencies between 2010 and 2015.
The ministry said preliminary findings by the committee have shown huge under-remittance of over N450 billion by the agencies within the period.
Already, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation staff have reviewed the accounting statements of the affected agencies, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Committee would be expected to invite the management of the affected agencies to explain why they failed to remit their operating surpluses as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
Section 21 of the Act, requires all government corporations and agencies as well as government-owned companies to, “not later than six months from the commencement of this Act and every three financial years thereafter, and not later than the end of the second quarter of every year, cause to be prepared and submitted to the Minister their Schedule estimates of revenue and expenditure for the next three financial years.”
Besides, the law states, each of the bodies shall “submit to the Minister not later than the end of August in each financial year: An annual budget derived from the estimates submitted”; and projected operating surplus, which shall be prepared in line with acceptable accounting practices.”
The law says the minister shall cause the estimates submitted to be attached as part of the Appropriation Bill to be submitted to the National Assembly.
Section 22 (1) states: “Notwithstanding the provisions of any written law governing the corporation, each corporation shall establish a general reserve fund and shall allocate thereto at the end of each financial year, one-fifth of its operating surplus for the year.
“(2) The balance of the operating surplus shall be paid into the Consolidate Revenue Fund of the Federal Government not later than one month following the statutory deadline for publishing each corporation’s accounts.”
The committee has found out that the agencies have incurred huge expenses on overseas training and medical expenses on behalf of supervisory ministries and/other organs of government involved in oversight or regulatory functions without appropriate approvals.
Other infractions include payment of salaries and allowances to staff, boards, governing council members, and commissions outside or above the amount approved by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
The list also included unacceptable expenses incurred on donations, sponsorships, etc; unfavourable contracts signed for revenue collection by a third party; granting of staff loans not repaid as well as sale and transfer of asset to board members, among others.
Consequently, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has directed the Accountant General of the Federation to issue a circular to limit allowable expenses that could be spent by the MDAs as part of measures to strictly monitor these agencies