Posted by News Express | 19 July 2022 | 357 times
The Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) did not submit their annual financial statements to the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) since 2010, in clear breach of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA, 2007), a new report has revealed.
The Act empowers the Commission to carry out reconciliation of accounts of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government, and monitor and ensure that they do not spend outside of the amount appropriated to them.
According to the first part of the report titled, “Where is the Money,”- a revenue remittance compliance index of federal government MDAs, out of the 150 MDAs captured, 58 were categorised as ‘Above Average Compliance,’ 73 were listed under ‘Average Compliance Category’ and 19 as ‘Below Average Compliance.’
The report, which was a collaborative effort of the OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative (OAI) and its partners in the Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Nigeria Project, was unveiled in Abuja yesterday.
From a total of 19 defaulting federal agencies listed under the, ‘Below Average Compliance Category,’ the NSITF came top, having failed to submit its annual financial statements to the FRC for scrutiny since 2010, while the Nigeria Immigration Service is in default since 2012.
Also, in the ‘Below Average Compliance’ category were the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading PLC (NBET), Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), among others.
A total of 73 MDAs under the “Average Compliance Category’ are agencies that have not submitted their annual financial statements between 2018 and 2020.
Some of others included the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC); Federal High Court, Abuja; Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd.; Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), among others.
Furthermore, in the ‘Above Average Compliance Category,’ were MDAs that have no pending annual financial statement to submit or just that of 2021.
Some of them included the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the Nigeria Press Council (NPC), the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Nigerian Export Promotion Zones Authority (NEPZA), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigerian Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), National Broadcast Commission).
Speaking at the unveiling of the report, the Executive Director, OrderPaper, Mr. Oke Epia said his organisation embarked on the collation of the data to help ensure revenue remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
According to him, the passage the reviewed Fiscal Responsibility Act was necessary to strengthen the Fiscal Responsibility Commission to carry out its mandate of policing the MDAs with a view to shoring government revenue.
Epia noted that a rise in government revenue was an incentive to less borrowing.
He pointed out that the index as captured by the report was derived from the FRC and highlights agencies that are defaulting in the remittance of government revenues.
He said: “We are implementing a project we call Gift Nigeria. Gift Nigeria stands for Global Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency and it seeks to interrogate the issues of transparency and accountability in the petroleum sector especially as it relates to revenue mobilisation and remittances into the Federation Account.
“It has been said time without numbers that the petroleum industry is the foster child of corruption in this country. But it has also been said that we are beginning to witness some bit of openness especially with the PIA 2021. But as we know, disclosure is not tantamount with transparency. But we should still acknowledge and recognise strides that are being made in the sector.”
Unveiling the report, Mr. Chris Uwadoka, the Special Adviser to the FRC Chairman, Mr. Victor Muruako, said the report released by OrderPaper and its partners would help his commission in carrying out its mandate.
Uwadoka who represented Muruako expressed delight that civil society organisations were partnering with government agencies to promote good governance and fiscal transparency.
“We are happy today that there is such a relationship between the CSOs and government agencies . As a matter of fact, the Act itself is probably the first one that went out of its way to establish a platform.
“Section 51 of the FRA gives CSOS, persons, individuals generally in the country, the power to ask questions concerning government revenue, government expenditures and related matters including loans and borrowing.
“Section 51 says anybody can approach the court of law and ask these questions of any agency without having to provide reason of specific interest.
“We are happy that the CSOS have risen up to the occasion. We are happy that they are partnering with the government, especially at the federal level, we continue to encourage them. There is a throve of data in the public sector now.
“Turning data into information is a different ballgame. This should stand as a clear example of how it should be done and other CSOS are encouraged,” he said.
Reviewing the report, an economist, Mr. Tope Fasua said the project was a welcome development.
He lamented the increasingly complex revenue problem of the country.
Dismissing government’s position that Nigeria does not have debt but revenue problem, Fasua declared that the country is buffeted by a combination of revenue, debt and expenditure problems.
According to him, the nation’s macroeconomic indicators were bleak and portended dire consequences.
“What we are likely to see based on evaluation of current situation is company closures, inflation rising from 18.6 per cent to a three-digit situation. I am not trying to be alarmist, but they are things that have happened to other countries.
“So, these can lead to unemployment, economic depression, crises and so on. And that is why this report is very important. Like I mentioned earlier, we have revenue problem.
“On the revenue end, some of us are projecting that there is space for Nigeria to get more revenue. For example, we have one of the lowest revenue to the GDP ratio in the world,” he said. (THISDAY)
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