The House of Representatives on Wednesday said that the Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs) in Nigeria were enough to keep the country from seeking foreign loans, especially going to borrow from China.
The lawmakers, however, regretted that non-remittance and under-remittances of the IGRs by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) had been responsible for Nigerian government going to seek for foreign loans.
The Reps, therefore, directed the Budget Office of the Federation to deduct the balance of such revenues from the allocation of defaulting MDAs.
The Reps stated this during an interactive session organised by the Joint Committee on Finance, Appropriation, National Planning and Economic Development; and Aids, Loans and Debt Management on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
Maintaining that Nigeria would have no need to seek external borrowings chiefly from China, if the MDAs properly remit their IGRs, the Reps lamented that the government had lost over N7 billion to under-remittance by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) alone.
The chairman of the House Committee on Finance, James Faleke, who is also the chairman of the joint committee said:
“In the past few weeks, we have been talking about Chinese loans when the money is there in the system. We have the money in Nigeria but we are not doing the needful.
“We are not remitting what we are supposed to remit. The private sector will not remit the taxes and you, government agencies, being paid salaries, will not remit.
“Where will the government get money to fund the capital projects when we have a deficit budget every year. I don’t think it is fair on the system. An agency came here and said they will generate N100 million but will spend N130 million; how?”
The committee said it discovered that NAFDAC failed to remit revenue of about N10 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and that the agency claimed it spent the money on inspection of factories belonging to its clients, who wanted to either establish a factory or want to import products.
NAFDAC Director, Administration and Human Resources, Joseph Aina, who represented the Director-General, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, said the agency obtained the permission of the Budget Office of the Federation to spend the money generated through its User Fee platform.
But Falake responding said, “The fact that you have a shortfall in releases does not empower you to spend your IGR. Tell Madam (Adeyeye) that we will not take it.
“She is there to reform the system and we trust that she will do that. But you cannot spend the IGR the way you like. If you do that, the accounting officer can be prosecuted and we as National Assembly will see to that.”
Also scrutinised by the committee was the revenue performance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
According to the Group General Manager, Corporate Planning and Strategy of NNPC, Meyiwa Eyesan, told the committee that “while the NNPC remitted N1.249 trillion in 2018 and N1.146 trillion in 2019, the figures were net of cost recovery.
“For 2021, there is a projected revenue of N3.54 trillion; 2022, N4.385 trillion; and for 2023, N5.341trillion and we are projecting a flat crude oil price for the period. I think that is understandable given the precarious situation that we find ourselves in 2020.”
The committee probe of the MDAs is coming at a time many Nigerians are agitated over the rising debt profile of the country, especially over external loan agreements between Nigeria and China.
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