The House of Representatives has disclosed that 60 government agencies short-changed the federal government of a whopping N9.12 trillion in unremitted internally generated revenue (IGR) between 2009 and 2012.
A report of the investigation into IGR remitted by the government agencies between 2009 and 2012 shows that, out of N9.3 trillion, only N174.9 billion was remitted to the account of the federal government.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) together with all its subsidiaries was singled out to have failed to remit about N6.132trillion as IGR within the period under review.
The House Committee on Finance in its "Report of Independent Revenue Generation and Remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund by Government-owned Agencies" said the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) only declared about N5.6trillion. But the agency's audited account reveals another unremitted sum of N323 billion.
Giving an overview of the report, which was adopted by the House, the chairman of the committee, Hon Abdulmumin Jubrin, said that most of the revenue-generating agencies failed to make returns to the treasury as well as also prepared different sets of account in violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
The committee in the report claimed that the affected agencies would prepare one account for the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and another for the Auditor-General's Office.
Speaking on the report, Hon. Jibrin said, "N3.06 trillion was generated in 2009 by the 60 agencies as independent revenue but they remitted N46.8 billion or 1.53 per cent. In 2010, the reviewed agencies generated N3.07trillion but remitted N54.1 billion or 1.76 per cent to the federal government; N3.17trillion was generated in 2011 of which 2.33 per cent or N73.8 billion was remitted to the treasury."
Similarly, the minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been mandated by the House of Representatives to, within three months, compel ministries, departments and agencies of government to remit all internally-generated revenues of government alleged to have been kept in secret bank accounts into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federal government.
She was further directed to, within four weeks, compel all MDAs with outstanding balances to be paid to make such payments.
The House, by this development, also directed the Fiscal Responsibility Commission to sanction any revenue-generating agency that fails to submit its audited annual accounts as and when due, as well as the accountant-general of the federation to submit to the finance committee detailed monthly remittances of the federal government's independent revenues.
The report also recommended that the House should give expeditious passage to the Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Act to check the various loopholes on which these agencies rely to spend what they generate without recourse to the National Assembly for appropriation.
While all affected agencies that failed to cooperate with the committee during the investigation were given seven days within which to do so, or face arrest as enshrined in section 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the committee was directed to immediately commence further investigation of other agencies not captured in the first phase of the exercise.
It was also recommended that stringent disciplinary measures be given against any agency that spends outside its budgetary allocation, while the House also directed that all revenues due to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federal government should be paid as and when due.
According to the House, "All agencies should henceforth present evidence of remittances into the Consolidated Account to the relevant committees of the House during their budget performance defence."