7 February 2013

Nigeria: Reps. Recommends Stiffer Sanctions for Extra-Budgetary Expenditure

The House of Representatives has recommended stiffer sanctions for any agency of government found spending outside funds appropriated to it by the National Assembly.

The House made the recommendation on Thursday following the adoption of the recommendations of its Committee on Finance and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by revenue generating agencies of government.

It called on the committee on Finance to immediately commence investigation of other agencies that were not captured in the exercise to ascertain their status of remittance.

The report also gave seven days to agencies that refused to cooperate with the committee to comply or face the risk of invocation of the relevant sections of the law.

All agencies, which have outstanding balances, should be compelled by the Ministry of Finance to remit the balances into the consolidated account.

Agencies also should henceforth present evidence of remittances into the consolidated account to the relevant committees of the House during their budget performance defence.

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission should sanction any agency that fails to submit its audited monthly annual accounts as at when due.

The Accountant-General of the Federation should submit to the Finance Committee a detailed monthly report of remittances of Federal Government's independent revenue.

Addressing the House, Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin (PDP-Kano), Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, said that out of the 500 agencies, the committee investigated 60.

He said that government must take deliberate steps to ensure that IGR by government agencies was remitted to the consolidated federation account.

It will be recalled that the House Committee on Finance on Dec. 4, conducted a public hearing on remittances by revenue generating agencies of government.

Meanwhile, Rep. Zakari Mohammed (PDP-Kwara), Chairman of the House committee on Media and Public Affairs, said that the 2013 budget was not before the National Assembly.

Zakari, who made this known at a news briefing, said that he was not in a position to answer any questions on the budget since it was not before the Assembly.

"As far as I am concerned, we are not in custody of the budget," he said.

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