Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Oteh Must Go, Reps Insist

House of Representatives, yesterday, continued its war with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as its Committee on Finance stopped a representative of the SEC Director General, Arunma Oteh, from participating in a meeting with federal government revenue generating agencies.

LEADERSHIP recalls that a report of a House probe into the near collapse of the Capital Market indicted Oteh and subsequently recommended her sack, a resolution the Goodluck Jonathan administration is yet to comply with.

Chairman Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin (Kano/PDP), in sacking Oteh's representative, SEC's Director of Finance, Mr. Abatcha Bulama, told the delegation to vacate the venue of the meeting, and insisted that since the executive arm of government was yet to implement the House resolution, the committee would have nothing to do with the incumbent SEC DG.

"We mistakenly advertised your name (SEC) for this meeting. As you are aware, the House resolved not have anything to do with you for now, so you may kindly take your leave now, we wish you well," the chairman told Bulama.

The Committee had invited about 63 revenue generating agencies of government with a view to ascertain their internally generated revenue and remittances to government.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, yesterday, began the process of amending the Fiscal Responsibility Act which, in part, will enforce full disclosure of revenue accruing to government agencies and in turn compel full remittance of the revenue to the country's federation account.

Opening the Committee on Finance meeting with 63 federal government revenue generation agencies, House Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said that a situation where actual government revenue and expenditure was unknown because revenue earning agencies of government spend the funds as they deem fit could no longer be tolerated.

Tambuwal, who was represented by his Deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, said a situation where over 50 per cent of actual government revenue is spent outside the national annual budget has put Nigeria in a fiscal crisis.

"For far too long, the menace of revenue leakages has dominated the finances of our country to the detriment of our economy and wellbeing of the people of Nigeria.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Finance Committee alleged that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) squandered N160billion this year, being the revenue it was supposed to remit to the Federation Account in line with section 162 of the 1999 Constitution.

He listed areas that the committee would focus on as discrepancies in Figures between the Budget office and the Agencies; reflection of surpluses in the revenue framework instead of gross collections as on other revenue sub heads; high expenditures that wipe off revenue generated; Internal laws of the agencies seem to empower the agencies to spend their revenues.

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