Reps committee threatens to block agencies’ accounts over refusal to honour invitation

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The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has threatened to order the Accountant General of the Federation to block the accounts of government agencies that have refused to render an account of their revenue profile or render accurate remittance to the government.

This is just as the Director of Finance and Accounts with the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Musa K. Jemaku lashed out at the office of the Accountant General for claiming that they have not paid their operating surplus for three years (2019, 2020 and 2021).

A representative of the Office of the Accountant General whose name could not be ascertained had said that the FRC has not remitted its operating surplus for 2019 (N126 million), 2020 (N143 million) and 2021 (N26) million to the government coffers adding that the operating surplus for 2021 has not been fully calculated because the agency has not submitted its audited accounts for 2021.

Speaking at the resumed revenue monitoring exercise of the committee on Tuesday, the vice chairman of the committee, Saidu Abdullahi (APC, Niger) frowned at the refusal of some of the agencies to appear before the committee despite invitations extended to them.

Abdullahi said out of eight agencies that were invited to appear before the Committee on Monday, only two (the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and the National Health Insurance Authority) honoured the committee invitation.

The lawmaker said while two others applied to be given another date, the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, National Broadcasting Commission, National Examination Council, and National Inland Waterways Authority failed to either honour the invitation or communicate them.

He said “We expected eight agencies to appear before the committee today, but only two agencies came, while two others wrote to request another date and they were granted.

“However, four others decided to abscond. That was the same word I used last year that did not go down well with some of the agencies. They have decided to play truancy on an assignment that is very important. If members can turn out in large numbers for this assignment, I don’t see any reason why any agency will decide not to appear before the committee.

“Let me put on record that we hope to have these agencies appear before the committee. Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, National Broadcasting Commission, National Examination Council and National Inland Waterways Authority.

“We expect them to cause appearance by tomorrow, Tuesday. If they fail to appear before this committee, we may be forced to take appropriate actions. We may write to the Office of the Accountant General to block their account.

“We will not take it lightly with any agency because this is an assignment that is very important to this country. We talk about revenue and if we cannot collect the revenue accruing to his country, I think there is a big problem”.

Jemaku who said that the agency has paid about N800 million to the government this year also faulted the AGF’s claim that they have only paid about N602 million to government coffers.

He explained that there is a circular from the office of the Minister of Finance for the implementation of the Finance Act 2020, adding that the circular automated the process of paying the 50 percent deduction, adding that “the AGF should be in a better position to answer the question on why the system could not deduct the correct 50 percent for the period.

“On a lighter note, let me say that this is not the avenue for the AGF to draw our attention to the non-payment or operating surplus when there is no official communication from them to the agency.”

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