By TEMITOPE PONLE
The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) says Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government are keeping N1.2 trillion in their coffers illegally.
Chairman of the Commission, Mr Victor Muruako, told newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja that it arrived at the figure based on analyses of the annual audited financial reports of the agencies concerned.
He said that government-owned enterprises and corporations were, supposed to remit 80 per cent of their operating surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Funds (CRF) of the Federal Government going by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Muruako added that the payment of the surpluses into the CRF was for the government to generate funds to meet revenue requirements in its budget execution.
He further said that corporations did not pay income taxes or dividends and it was important that they made returns on government’s investment.
“Many MDAs still persist in defaulting and practically keeping money away from the Federal Government’s reach.
“Much more is yet out there in the hands of MDAs that either have failed to dutifully audit their accounts or that have done so but chose not to forward copies of their audited financial reports to the Commission as required by law,’’ he said.
Muruako said, however, that the Federal Government had received more than N2.15 trillion as payment of operating surpluses from corporations since the establishment of the FRC.
“This figure is not cheering, considering the importance of institutionalised fiscal responsibility measures and the quantum of effort that the Commission has expended in this regard,’’ he said.
The chairman also told newsmen that the returns made was achieved through persistent engagement by the Commission and the National Assembly with the MDAs.
He also reiterated the support of the Commission for states to institute mechanisms for fiscal responsibility management and measurement.
He said more than 20 states had so far established Fiscal Responsibility laws and agencies, while many others had adopted alternatives or were at different stages of completing the cycle.
He restated the call to states’ Houses of Assembly and state governments to take immediate measures to conclude the enactment of the necessary laws and the establishment of the relevant institutions.
Muruako expressed his gratitude to the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre for its contribution to the organisation of the briefing and also called for all present to partner with the Commission.
“We invite you to partner with the FRC in preventing corruption. The reality is that the Commission exists to prevent corruption from happening in the first place.
“We will continue to do our best to ensure that there is value for money in our system,’’ he said. (NAN)