The House of Representatives is set to work on the Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Bill which seeks to stop government agencies from spending what they generate internally without recourse to the National Assembly when it resumes sitting after its Easter break.
The amendment of the Bill is expected to look at the various loopholes that allow ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to spend their internally generated revenues (IGRs) without clearance from the National Assembly, and clip such loopholes accordingly.
This is the recommendation of the House Committee on Finance which is contained in a ‘Report of Independent Revenue Generation and Remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund by Government-owned Agencies’.
The report, which is compiled by the committee, and is yet to be submitted to the House, covered a four-year account of the IGR of 60 government-owned agencies. It is an exposé of how some 41 agencies of the Federal Government spent a whopping N63,063,865,196.87 consolidated revenue fund in 2012.
Abdulmumini Jibrin, chairman of the committee, observed in the report that the 60 agencies contravened the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 because of the nature of the Act, which allows agencies to remit to the treasury based on an operating surplus framework.
“All reviewed agencies, except the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) prepared and submitted their audited accounts to the office of the auditor general outside the statutory time frame as stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 of the federation. Owing to the nature of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which allows agencies to remit to the treasury based on an operating surplus framework, agencies endeavour to spend as much of their internally generated revenue (IGR) as possible, leaving little or no surpluses for the treasury.
“Consequently, the Ministry of Finance issued a circular to all agencies to remit 25 percent of their gross collections to the treasury effective from 2011. All agencies have contravened both the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the Ministry of Finance directive of remittance of 25 percent of gross IGR effective from 2011,” it read in part.
The report further revealed 42 percent compliance of the total expected remittance by 2012.
TEDDY NWANUNOBI, Abuja