Some government agencies, on Wednesday, opted out of Federal Government’s funding and refunded millions of naira revenues due to the Consolidated Revenue of the Federation.
Ripples Nigeria gathered that the agencies took the decision because of an ongoing probe by the Senate Committee on Finance, on the remittances of internally generated revenues by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the FG.
The Committee is currently probing the MDA’s compliance to the payment of one per cent Stamp Duties on all Federal Government contracts to reduce the yearly budget deficit and garner more revenue to fund budgets.
The affected agencies while answering questions from the finance committee, headed by Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West), said they had agreed to willingly opt-out of the Federal government’s budget allocations.
The heads of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and. Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), and Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) were among those who opted out.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, told the committee that her agency could conveniently exit the federal budget to the extent of all overheads as well as capital provisions, noting that NAFDAC could start the implementation from the 2021 budget to free funds for other uses and hopefully reduce the size of the budget deficit.
Similarly, the Chairman of NERC, Sanusi Garba, said his agency was ready to completely exit the federal budget and promised to refund within one week, the accumulated N28 million being the one per cent stamp duties on contracts awarded by the agency that was not remitted by contractors.
Also, the Director-General of NIGCOMSAT Limited, Abimbola Alale, told the committee that his agency would seek partners to inject capital into its programmes to yield revenue for the Government, as lack of sufficient funding was a major challenge facing the agency.
However, the Committee told the agencies to reconcile their IGRs and the one per cent stamp duty accounts for remittance, saying it runs into billions of Naira.
The Committee also told the agencies to report back with the reconciled reports for the committee to determine if any remittance was still outstanding to the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.
Meanwhile, Adeola commended the heads of the agencies for proposing to exit the federal budgeting.
“I want to commend the NAFDAC DG in particular for willingly opting out of the Federal budget beginning from this year’s budget. No doubt such gesture will go a long way in reducing our yearly deficits and reduce our incessant borrowing to fund government activities” he stated.
Before the hearing, some agencies of Government including the National Office of Technology Acquisition (NOTAP) and Nigeria Electricity Management Service Agency (NEMSA), among others had indicated willingness to exit the Federal budget in part or wholly, following the oversight activities of the Committee, while over 400 revenue-generating agencies were under investigation.
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