Nigeria’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun

The Federal Ministry of Finance has constituted a committee to recover un-remitted operating surpluses of 31 ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDAs) running into N450 billion.

This is according to a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja by the Special Media Adviser to the Minister of Finance, Festus Akanbi.

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The Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 stipulates that any Federal Government funded agency that generates revenue must remit 80 per cent of its profit as operating surplus into the Consolidated Revenue Funds accounts.

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission, the body in charge of enforcing this act, has always called attention to the fact that many of the Federal Government MDAs short-change the government by not remitting or under remitting their operating surplus.

The commission has had cause to challenge agencies such as the NNPC for not remitting operating surplus in nine years, by claiming operational losses.

Affected agencies

The agencies under review included the Central Bank of Nigeria, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Nigerian Television Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Others are Nigeria Ports Authority, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Debt Management Office, and also the Nigeria Inland Revenue Service among others.

It stated that the committee, headed by the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, will reconcile the operating surpluses of the 31 revenue-generating agencies of government for the period 2010 to 2015.

“The Committee will, therefore, be inviting the management of these agencies to explain why they have not remitted their operating surpluses as mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

“Some of these agencies have also incurred huge expenses on overseas trainings, medicals and huge expenses on behalf of supervisory ministries and other government organs involved in oversight functions without appropriate approval.

“Other infractions include payment of salaries and allowances to staff and board members, governing councils, and also commissions which are outside or above the amount approved by RMAFC and Salaries and Wages Commission,” it stated.

The committee will look at donations, sponsorships, unfavourable contract signed for revenue collection by a third party, as well as questionable staff loans.

The committee will also look into sale and transfer of assets to board members in the affected MDAs.

According to the statement, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has directed the Accountant General of the Federation to limit allowable expenses of MDAs as part of measures to ensure they face strict monitoring.