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Refund N450bn Unremitted Revenue – Fg Orders 17 Revenue-generating Agencies

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BEVERLY HILLS, December 01, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has summoned 17 revenue-generating agencies to a meeting to tender proposals on how they intend to repay N450 billion unremitted operating surplus into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) which was discovered after a thorough audit of the agencies.

Making this known to journalists in Abuja, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, revealed that the accounts of 33 government agencies were audited for the periods 2010 to 2015, with 17 of them found to have defaulted in remitting an operating surplus totalling N450 billion.

The defaulting agencies are the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria Postal Service (NPS), National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA) and Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).

Others are Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), National Pensions Commission (PenCom), Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), Raw Material Research & Development Council (RMRDC) and Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).

Also on the defaulters' list are the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), National Agency for Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).

A senior official at the CBN while reacting to the development told THEWILL that the bank always remits its operating surpluses to the consolidated account, saying the Ministry of Finance must have included the apex bank in error.

Adeosun, who is widely believed to be inexperienced for office she is superintending, has been under pressure to raise funds to meet federal spending as government continues to struggle with low crude price and disruption of oil facilities in the Nigeri Delta by militant groups.

She declared that the 17 affected agencies had been issued notices to come up with proposals on how to repay the unremitted operating surpluses, adding that the agencies in question are to appear for a meeting on  December 6  with the committee set up by the FG to recover the funds, which is headed by the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.

The Minister added that the committee has been saddled with the task of recovering the outstanding N450 billion, as well as initiating bilateral discussions and undertaking impromptu visits on revenue agencies, going forward.

Adeosun said in order to control leakages and increase revenue generation several measures had been adopted, including putting in place a new financing model for federal government-owned universities and hospitals as she observed that compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 (FRA) has been poor resulting in revenue leakages as confirmed by the audit findings.

She listed areas where the revenue agencies had breached the FRA provision as non–remittance and under-remittance of operating surpluses due to the CRF; operating without an approved budget; overstating of budgets and spending above budgeted amounts; under reporting of revenues; making payments without invoices and absence of payment receipts, and failure to retire cash advances.

Others are granting loans and grants to parent companies without prior approvals; poor book keeping; failure to reconcile accounts and existence of irreconcilable differences; lack of fixed asset registers and sale of assets to staff; fixed asset register not updated with all items purchased; and purchase of fixed assets directly from internally generated revenue; among others.

She also disclosed that henceforth, all government agencies are to submit a budget to be approved by the National Assembly and to improve the quality of their budgeting processes adding that a circular had already been issued requesting the agencies to submit for review and approval, estimates of revenues and expenses for the next three financial years, annual budgets (IPSAS-compliant), as well as projected operating surpluses.