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Senate says MDAs yet to remit over N3trn

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Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are yet to remit over N3 trillion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government between 2014 and 2020, says the Senate.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen.Solomon Adeola (APC- Lagos), made the revelation in a statement by Kayode Odunaro, his Media Adviser, on Sunday in Abuja.

The senator spoke at the ongoing investigation of remittances of revenue by MDAs and payment of 1 per cent stamp duty on contracts between 2014 and 2020.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms Zainab Ahmed, and Director-General of Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, appeared before the committee.

Adeola said the unremitted revenue may have been trapped with the MDAs or spent on frivolous expenditures.

He said this is contrary to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007.

He said the minister, director general, budget office, and the Accountant General of the Federation, were invited to speak on the unremmited funds which was revealed from investigations of the committee.

According to Adeola, the investigation has so far revealed that many agencies were involved in illegalities relating to expenditure of funds that should be remmited into CRF.

He said many of the agencies abused the concept of operating surpluses to shortchange government, relying on ministerial circulars over and above the constitution and FRA-2007 as passed by the National Assembly.

The Minister said the huge budget deficits accompanying our yearly budgets has forced government to resort to huge borrowing to finance these deficits.

“The committee decided to probe the revenue remittances by agencies of government.

“The government cannot continue to borrow yearly while the revenue from agencies that the government is financing with the borrowings are spent contrary to the laws of the land.

“From submissions already made and calculations from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, about 60 Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs), may have about N3 trillion of government revenue still unremitted in their coffers. Or already spent on frivolous expenditure contrary to the Constitution and FRA 2007,” Adeola said.

He said since the commencement of the investigation, some agencies had complied in paying back millions of naira with receipts from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

The senator said if these revenues were paid to the CRF for proper appropriation by the parliament during budget considerations, the size of the nation’s deficit would be reduced and hopefully minimise borrowing.

“We cannot continue to run government business as we used to do in this time when there are huge demands for government to fund needed infrastructure and other socio-economic programmes” he said.

Adeola also revealed that the investigation has also led to the willing exit of some agencies from the budget of the government, while relying on their generated revenue to fund aspects of their operations.

He noted that this would reduce their dependence on the federation budget and assist in reducing budget deficits.

Responding, Ahmed commended the committee for the ongoing probe of revenue remittances.

She noted that in recent times, there had been a noticeable increase in revenue from agencies to the CRF as required by law.

The minister, however, explained that the executive arm is also examining the application of the template of calculating and deducting operating surpluses by agencies of government.

She said this is to ensure that the right amount was paid to government. (NAN)

 

 

 

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Business & Economy

Double trouble for Ahmed Idris: arrested by EFCC, suspended by Minister

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Ahmed Idris - Account General of the Federation
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The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris has been directed to proceed on indefinite suspension over alleged laundering of N80 billion.

Idris, was suspended on Wednesday by Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

In a letter dated May 18, 2022, the minister said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

Ahmed Idris, was on Monday arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). over alleged diversion and laundering of N80 billion.

Wilson Uwajaren, Head of Media and Public Information of the EFCC, stated that verified intelligence reports showed that Idris raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.

Uwujaren added that the funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and in Abuja.

According to EFCC, Idris was arrested after he failed to honour invitations by the Commission to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts.

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NEPC, 13 trade promotion organisations shortlisted for WTOP award

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NEPC Headquarters, Maitama - Abuja.
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The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has been nominated along side 13 other Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) for the 2022 World Trade Organisation (WTPO) Awards for Excellence in Trade Promotion.

A statement released on Monday by Ndubueze Okeke Head, Corporate Communications of the NEPC, it said Nigeria is poised to clinch the “Best Use of a Partnership”.

He said the NEPC has been shortlisted along with Apex Brazil, Jamaica Promotion Corporation, Qatar Development Bank-Tesder and Saudi Export Development Authority.

The WTPO Award which is scheduled to hold on 17th May, 2022 in Accra, Ghana is open to all national TPOs.

The statement also said, “NEPC acknowledged WTPO as it recognizes excellence in providing trade support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs to become competitive in international trade.

“In 2018, Nigeria, through NEPC won the award for the ‘Best initiative to Ensure that Trade is Inclusive and Sustainable”.

The NEPC won that category with its Zero to Export initiative which builds capacity of would-be exporters and SMEs on export procedures and documentation as well as provide practical training on product sourcing and market access.

The NEPC said that the initiative had trained 560 SMEs.

The International Trade Centre Executive Director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton said, “At a time when small firms have been hit by supply chain disruptions, climate change crises and other socio-economic challenges, it important to show inspiring models that connect small firms to Trade opportunities that are Inclusive and sustainable”.

The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak will represent Nigeria at the Award Ceremony.

The statement further said, Austria, Canada, Malaysia, Tanzania is competing in the “Best use of Information Technology”, while Sri Lanka, Republic of Korea, Netherlands and Zimbabwe will compete for the “Best initiative to ensure that trade is inclusive and sustainable category”.

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Skils acquisition: ITF, Sightsavers train 32 physically challenged on 8 set of skills

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In fulfilling its mandate of promoting skills acquisition in the country, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), in partnership with Sightsavers, an international non-governmental organization that promotes disability rights have trained and graduated 32 Nigerians on different skills.

The skills include, computer hardware, event management, catering, phone repair, photography and poultry management.

Sir Joseph Ari, Director General of the ITF, at the graduation ceremony in Abuja on Thursday, said that the agency has made the training of physically challenged persons a priority.

He said “Among the the 34 that started the training only 2 couldn’t continue, therefore making the graduands 32.

“There is a physically challenged Act today in Nigeria, therefore as an agency thatt caters for the growth and development of youths and women through skills acquisition, we have decided to focus on our attention on the physically challenged so they can acquire different skills and contribute their quota to national development because we believe there is ability in disability,”

Yahaya Manu, Area Manager, ITF Kaduna, who reppresented Ari, also charged the graduands to make good use of their start up parks provides to them by the agency.

“Now that you have acquired these special skills, I urge you to deploy it into judicious use so you can contribute your quota to the growth and development of the country, because the ultimate aim of this training is to reduce youth unemployment,, and the agency is always committed to support the physically challenged in any capacity” he further stated.

On his part, the country director of Sightsavers Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, said the rationale behind their partnership with the ITF is to transform the labour market system to be disability inclusive.

“We are building the disability confidence of employers, job readiness of young persons with disabilities and supporting government agencies to ensure their programs promote disability inclusive economic empowerment.

“While we have trained hundreds of persons with disabilities on soft and digital” skills, preparing and connecting them to formal job, we decided to partner with ITF to empower the graduates today in vocational training and prepare them for entrepreneurship,” he said.

He said the courses were carefully selected for the disability persons due to its relevance to the labour market while admonishing the graduands to apply the knowledge they have gathered during the training to start their business.

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