The House of Representatives committee on finance has asked Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning not to release more funds to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
The committee said FCCPC’s funds should be withheld until the minister removed Akinyoghon Ojo, director of finance and administration (DAF) of the agency as the lawmakers requested.
The lawmakers took this decision when Adamu Abdullahi, the executive commissioner, operations at FCCPC
appeared before the finance committee for interaction on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) 2023 – 2025 on Tuesday.
Abdullahi said the commission remitted only N2. 63 billion out of the N7.68 billion it generated between January 2021and July 2022.
The executive commissioner, accompanied by the DAF, Ojo said N4.024 billion was generated in 2021, while N3.661 billion was generated from January to July this year, adding that N1.34 billion and N1.29 billion were monies for the 2021 and 2022 respectively.
The James Faleke-led committee queried the commission over the balance of the money it generated but the DFA said it was for running overhead cost.
The executive commissioner explained that FCCPC spent the money because it was given approval by the committee of the House that oversees the affairs of the commission.
But Faleke who was obviously furious, said no agency has the right to spend any money without appropriation, and no committee of the House has the authority to approve any spending outside appropriation.
The lawmaker wondered why the agency would spend from its internally generated revenue when it already has a budget for overhead.
He said the agency which is fully funded by the government is supposed to pay 100 percent of its internally generated revenue into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“If everybody spends their income how would the government fund the budget? You presented the IGR budget, outside the national budget. Does that make sense?,” Faleke said.
“Nobody gave approval to the spending of the money. Government provides money for you and you are funded accordingly. The worst case scenario is by submitting an amendment or supplementary.
“No committee has power to approve IGR outside the national budget. It is every agency’s IGR collected to fund the national income.
“How can they spend money outside appropriation and you have control of the accounts? How do you release money to an agency that has already surpassed its appropriation,” he queried the representative of the Accountant General.
Faleke demanded that the said IGR budget approved by the said House committees be submitted and also directed that the balance of N513, 770, 959 in the account of the Commission be blocked
The DFA informed the committee that the amount approved for the Commission for 2022 was N280 million but that they have gotten a release of N166 million so far.