Nigerian government agencies indicted by a federal audit, for failure to remit over N450 billion revenue into government coffers between 2010 and 2015, are to be reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who said this on Thursday, said demand notices have already been issued to affected agencies for the payment of outstanding operating surpluses, which was a violation of the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
The agencies, the minister said, have also been invited to a meeting scheduled to December 6, to enable them submit a repayment plan or face appropriate sanctions, including deduction of amount owed directly from TSA balances, besides prosecution by the EFCC.
Sections 21 and 22 of the Act, states that “(1) The Government corporations and agencies and government owned companies listed in the Schedule to this Act (in this Act referred of as “the Corporations” shall, 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.
“(2) Each of the bodies referred to in sub-section (1) of this section shall submit to the Minister not later than the end of August in each financial year: (a.) An annual budget derived from the estimates submitted in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section; and (b.) Projected operating surplus which shall be prepared in line with acceptable accounting practices.
“(3) The Minister shall cause the estimates submitted in pursuance of subsection (2) of this section 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.”
Mrs. Adeosun named some of the defaulting agencies to include Nigeria Communication Commission, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Nigeria Shippers Council, National Pensions Commission, Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading and National Health Insurance Scheme.
Others include Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Industrial Training Fund, National Health Insurance Scheme, Nigeria Postal Service, Nigerian Television Authority, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, National Information Technology and Development Agency, Raw Material Research & Development Council, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, and Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria.
The minister said a recovery committee chaired by the Accountant General of Federation, Ahmed Idris, has since been constituted to recover the outstanding N450 billion operating surpluses, including holding bilateral discussions with the affected agencies.
“We have been getting positive responses. Some Agencies have started making remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund,” Mrs. Adeosun said.
“For instance, about N640 million was received from Nigeria Shippers Council on Wednesday. Our duty is strictly auditing and investigating. We are not a prosecuting agencies. That is why we will be reporting some of these defaulting agencies to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution,” she said.