The Federal Government said it is focusing efforts to plug revenue leakages so as to generate more income for the implementation of the 2016 budget.
The N6.08 trillion 2016 appropriation bill is currently before the National Assembly for scrutiny and passage.
Briefing journalists after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, the first for the year, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said government may be sending auditors to some agencies with perceived excessive cost not in line with its expectations.
The whole idea is to insist that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) submit a budget subject to approval and operate within the approved limit so that the Federal Government can shore up its
“The principal discussion in our meeting today was the initiative by this administration to plug revenue leakages in our MDAs that generate revenue. The presentation to FEC was to remind ministers who supervise these revenue-generating boards of their responsibilities under the
Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“Let me remind you that under FRA, these boards and corporations that generate poor revenue are supposed to generate and operate surplus, 80 percent of which is to be credited to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, but we have discovered that many agencies have never credited anything
and never generated any operating surplus including some whose salaries, overheads, capital is paid by the Federal Government.
“Then in addition to that, they generate revenue which they spend without any form of control. So one of the big initiatives and changes of this administration is to bring all those agencies into line, to
insist that they must submit a budget and that budget must be subject to approval and they must operate within that budget so that the surplus that is meant to come to the Federal Government can be seen to be used as appropriate”, Adeosun, who briefed alongside Minister of
Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said.
She added that the key message is that change has now come to those agencies, boards and corporation, who have been hitherto operating without any control. “We are reining them in and making sure that the money generated for all Nigerians is spent according to approval and
any surplus then comes into the CRF to be used to fund other areas of government”.
She said ministers had been asked to ensure that whether those agencies have boards or not, the budgets are prepared and that the Ministry of Finance meet with the supervising ministers and with the boards concerned where necessary to go through their budgets and make sure that they are reasonable, that the costs are not inflated.
“We also discussed that in some cases, because some agencies have a track record and history of making sure that every naira they earned is spent, that we will go in and audit agencies under Section 107 (8) of the Financial Regulations. The accountant-general, who is under the Ministry of Finance has the powers to go in and make inquiries about how public money is spent, so we will be sending in auditors to some agencies where we believe that their cost is simply excessive and not
in keeping with our expectations”, Adeosun said.
The expected outcome of this, she stated, is that the internally generated revenue (IGR) which the new budget is banking on will actually become a reality.
“So that was the principal discussion and everybody in the cabinet endorsed the initiative…and agreed to make sure that these revenues cannot continue to leak as they have done in the past.
“We are going to make every naira count and in order to make every naira count, we have to know how much is coming in and control how it goes out”, she added.
The finance minister also said in the passage of the budget, the normal interactive process will take place, where ministers and heads of agencies defend their budgetary allocations with possible
She also declared that the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration would not condone padding of budgetary allocations, adding that contrary to insinuations the 2016 budget has not been
withdrawn from the National Assembly.
The information minister denied allegations that government was trying to intimidate the opposition following the arrest of the spokesman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, over charges of fraud and money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to Mohammed, “This government is not micro-managing any of the anti-graft agencies” in the on-going anti-corruption war. He charged the press to independently investigate allegations of
corruptions and make their own judgement.
“I can assure you that this government, no functionary in government micro-manages or directs the EFCC or ICPC on who to arrest and who not to arrest”, he added.