^^^Committee recommends prosecution of all DGs, DFAs of NSITF
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts in its two-year report has frowned at the failure of Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) to render its annual financial reports to the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (oAuGF) in line with extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution and relevant financial regulations.
According to the report laid before the House prior to the end of the Second Legislative year of the 9th Assembly, the bank came into operations in 2017 after the collaboration between the Federal Government and following Development Partners – African Development Bank, the World Bank, German Development Bank, France Development Bank and the CBN with 75% shares equity.
According to the information obtained by the Committee on Public Accounts, Federal Government owns 75% equity in DBN which makes funding available to 21 Microfinance and Commercial banks in the country and has provided about N130 billion to funding SMEs across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
However, the “bank rendered its audited accounts for 2017 and 2018 in 2020 after CBN approval before rendering them to the Auditor General.
“The Bank tendered letters of evidence of remittance of its audited accounts for sighting by both the Committee and the Auditor General Desk during the hearing. The Bank is said to provide 52% of its loan to women for trading,” the report stated.
In its recommendation, the House Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Hon. Woke Oke cautioned the Bank against delayed rendition of its financial reports.
In its assessment of the audit queries against National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Committee disclosed that “NHIS has not rendered its audited accounts for past 13 years.
“The Executive Secretary of the Scheme lamented that this was due to frequent turnover of chief executive officers of the Scheme which become so difficult to keep financial records of the Scheme and dissolution of its governing councils by succeeding governments over the years. He (Executive Secretary) said the audited accounts for 2014 and 2015 had been signed and given to the External Auditors for onward transmission to the office of the auditor general while 2016 to 2018 are at final stage of completion.”
However in its recommendation, the Committee which frowned at the Management of the Scheme for the non- rendition of their audited accounts over the past 13 years which is a total violation of the financial regulations and the Constitution, directed NHIS to furnish its procurement process and give written reasons for the delay which is still being awaited.
In the same vein, the Committee during its investigation into the audit queries against National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), observed that the Agency submitted its 2014 audited accounts in October 2015; 2015 in November, 2016; 2016 on 7th February, 2018, and 2018 in November 2019.
Pleased by the timely rendition of its financial reports, the Committee commended the effort by the Agency for rendition, though delayed with few months.
In the report on Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management Board), the Committee observed that the Board submitted its 2014 and 2015 audited accounts duly but rendered that of 2016 in 2020 and is yet to remit those for 2017 and 2018.
To this end, the Committee condemned the delay and refusal by the Board to prepare and remit 2017 and 2018 audited accounts to the Auditor General which infringed on Section 85(3B) of the Constitution. Hence, recommended that: “All officers involved should be sanctioned in line with Financial Regulations No. 3112 (ii).”
In its report on the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), the Auditor General Desk confirmed the Fund last rendered its audited account in 2005, leaving 2006 to 2018 still outstanding.
“On Thursday 20th February 2020 the Minister of Labour and Employment was invited to appear at the hearing on the issue but was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr William Aloh as the Minister was away to attend the burial of the late Chairman of Senate Committee on Labour and Employment, Imo State.”
However in its recommendation, the Committee while at this worrisome attitude of the Fund for refusing to render its audited accounts for last 13 years yet benefited from the Federal Treasury, recommended that: “All Director Generals of the Fund and their DFAs as well as various External Auditors from 2006 till now should be handed over to the EFCC in line with FR No. 3129 for further prosecution to compel them to refund all money received and misused by the officers.”
Senate approves 2022-2024 MTEF/FSP, okays N13.98trn budget projection for 2022
***endorses USD$57 per barrel oil benchmark, N410/US$1 Exchange rate
All is now set presentation of the 2022 Appropriations bill to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Senate on Wednesday approved the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
This is in tandem with the 9th National Assembly resolve to stick to the January to December budget cycle.
The passage of the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework was sequel to the consideration and exhaustive deliberation of a report by the Joint Committees on Finance; Local and Foreign Debts; Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; Petroleum Resources (Upstream); Downstream Petroleum Sector and Gas.
The Joint Committee report was presented by Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West), who chairs the Finance Committee.
The chamber during consideration of the report gave its nod to the Federal Government’s revenue projection of N8.36 trillion; and proposed expenditure of N13.98 trillion.
Accordingly, it also approved the daily crude oil production of 1.88mbpd, 2.23mbpd, and 2.22mbpd for 2022, 2023 and 2024, particularly “in view of average 1.93mbpd over the last 3 years and the fact that a very conservative oil output benchmark has been adopted for the medium term in order to ensure greater budget realism”.
The Senate in its recommendations approved the Benchmark oil price of USD$57 per barrel; adopted the Exchange Rate of N410.15/US$ by the Executive for 2022-2024; and gave its nod to the projected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 4.20%; as well as 13% inflation rate.
In addition, the chamber approved fiscal deficit of N5.62 trillion; new borrowings of N4.89 trillion – an amount which includes Foreign and Domestic borrowing – subject to the provision of details of the borrowing plan to the National Assembly.
The Senate also approved other parameters such as Statutory transfers totaling N613.4 billion; Debt Service estimate of N3.12 trillion; Sinking Fund to the tune of N292 billion; Pension, Gratuities and Retirees Benefits of N567 billion.
Out of the Aggregate Federal Government’s Expenditure of N13.98 trillion, the upper chamber approved the sum of N6.12 trillion for Total Recurrent (Non-debt); N3.47 trillion as Personnel Cost for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); N3.26 trillion for Capital Expenditure (exclusive transfers); N350 billion Special Intervention (Recurrent); and N10 billion for Special Intervention (Capital).
The upper chamber in its report recommended that the Fiscal deficit estimate of N5.62 trillion also be sustained due to the Federal Government’s conservative approach to target setting and its determination to improve collection efficiency of major revenue generating agencies.
It further called on the Salaries and Wages Commission to review the salary structure of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), in other to come up with a new salary structure that will reflect the true financial position of the Agencies.
The chamber also demanded a continuous review of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to ensure that all revenues are remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) as at when due, in order to curtail frivolous deductions and diversion of funds by the MDAs.
It further maintained that all laws relating to mining businesses be reviewed as a matter of urgency, to ensure upward review of rates applied to royalties, ground rent and licenses renewal of all mining companies operating in Nigeria to ensure transparency in the collection of revenue by relevant agencies, as well as recommend stringent sanctions in proposed new laws to address illegal mining.
The Senate amid its recommendations also called on the Nigeria Customs Service to accelerate the process of installing scanners at all ports across the country to curb the issues of smuggling and underpayment of custom duties on imported goods which has resulted in huge loss of revenue to the government.
It also charged the Federal Government to urgently implement the Petroleum Industry Act recently assented to by the President in order to curtail the problems of smuggling and round-tripping of petroleum products imported into the country.
In addition, the chamber recommended that the proposed budget of Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) be reviewed upward to show the reflection of their capabilities to generate more revenue as a result of the findings of the Joint Committee.
Consequently, it further recommended that the offices of the Accountant General (AGF), Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) and Fiscal Responsibility Commission be strengthened in the area of staffing and proper funding of its activities to ensure optimal performance of their duties in order to adequately monitor the remittances of all government revenue.
The chamber posited that the Act establishing some MDAs such as – Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), National Lottery Trust Fund Act, Bank of Industry Act, Bank of Agriculture Act, Energy Commission Act and Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Commission – if reviewed and amended as a matter of urgency, would assist to generate more revenue to the coffers of government.
It also recommended that the Federal Government budget be reviewed and purged of some agencies with demonstrated capacity to stand on their own without any recourse to Federal Government of Nigeria budget.
The chamber gave example of such agencies to include the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.
Buhari asks Senate to confirm EFCC board members
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sent a request to the Senate for the confirmation of the appointment of the Secretary and Board members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
The request was contained in a letter dated September 17, 2021, and read during plenary on Tuesday by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
President Buhari explained that the request for the confirmation of the nominees was in accordance with the provision of section 2(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
Those to be confirmed include George Abbah Ekpungu, Secretary (Cross River); Luqman Muhammed (Edo); Anumba Adaeze (Enugu); Alhaji Kola Raheem Adesina (Kwara); and Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad (Yobe).
35 days after assenting to PIA Senate gets Buhari’s request for amendment
About one month after assenting to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari is asking the Senate to amend the act that was passed by the National Assembly over two months ago.
On 16th August 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 into law.
The signing of the Bill into law by the President was in furtherance to the passage of the Bill by both the Senate and the House of Representatives earlier in July 2021.
The PIA is expected to grow investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry and create more employment opportunities for the populace in the host communities.
The President”s request was contained in a letter dated September 16, 2021, and read during plenary on Tuesday by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
President Buhari in the letter explained that the appointment of two non-executive members as provided for by the Act to the board of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and Upstream Regulatory Commission (URC) does not reflect balanced geopolitical representation.
He, therefore, requested amendment to Sections 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b) which provides for the Administrative Structure of the PIA 2021, to increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six on the boards of the NPRA and URC.
According to him, doing so would foster national unity and “provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry”.
In addition, the President proposed a deletion of Sections 11(2)(f), 11(2)(g), 34(2)(f) and 34(2)(g) from the Petroleum Industry Act, which would see to the removal of the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance form the Board of the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Authority and Upstream Regulatory Commission.
He explained that, “The proposed amendment will increase the membership of the board from nine (9) to thirteen (13) members that is representing 44 percent expansion of the board size.
“This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve the expected policy contributions.
“The two ministries already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations. They can continue to perform such roles without being in the board.
“It is also important to not that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be Directors – being same rank with Directors in the institution. This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff related matters.”
He also sought an amendment to Sections 11(3) and 34(3) to be replaced with a new section that provides that appointments to the Board of the Commission or Authority under section 2 shall be made by the President, while those made pursuant to subsection (2)(a), (b) and (c) of section shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
The President further requested that Section 41(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act be replaced with a new section as “there shall be five (5) executive directors for the Authority whose appointment shall comply with the rules of the Federal Civil Service with each responsible for one of the following.”
The President, in his proposed the amendment, underscored the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.
“This will ensure effective management of the regulatory institutions through uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the Authority.
“In future, these positions will obviously be filled by the workers in the Authority through career progression in conformity with the rules and regulations of the Federal Civil Service”, Buhari said
Personality8 months ago
Coalition of civil Societies calls for Sack Of SP Mohammed Musa for gross Misconduct
Crime9 months ago
How Saudi Arabia based oil expert was assassinated in Idah, Kogi State
News2 years ago
PDP asks Kogi Finance Commissioner to bury his Head In Shame as no Single Project Executed
Media4 years ago
Igala nation rejects alleged inclusion in Map of Biafra
Metro4 years ago
Police parades Naval rating, two serving Police officers over attempted kidnap of 5year old
Features4 years ago
The many (mis)adventures of Gov. Yahaya Bello
Metro4 years ago
SARS kills Notorious Criminal in a gun duel in Kogi, as gang members burns down police post
News4 years ago
Kogi State University commences recruitment of fresh lecturers to replace striking ones