Gross income: Senate goes tough on MDAs over frivolous spending

*Sets to increase remittances to 60% 

By Peter Usman//:

Senate on Monday vowed to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act, FRA, to curb frivolous spending of gross incomes and operational surpluses allegedly  being made by many of the revenues generating agencies of government .

The chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, who made the vow during an interface with heads of National Metrological Development Agency, NMDA and Federal Government Staff Housing Loan Board, said the FRA must be amended to curb wastages by most of the Government ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs.

This, he explained, will help in boosting revenues of government and financing of yearly budgets with less deficit margin and external borrowings.

He said: “The committee is forward looking to the upcoming amendment of Fiscal Responsibility Act before us to jerk up government revenue. The idea of 80% operational surplus is obsolete.

“The government has proposed 25%, but we are proposing 60% of your gross income to be deducted at source. So for every month, every revenue you generate, before you spend out of it, we will take 60% of it. You are left with 40%. 

“At the end of the year, after your account must have been audited, we will still come after your 80% operational surplus. This is what the committee is proposing. 

“All the ideas of deducting depreciation, donations from organizations not approved, unwarranted expenditure, taken at a glance without revert back to government, fixing of arbitrary salary and commission that is not approved by National Salaries and Wages Commission, all of these will be put to an end by the forthcoming amendment to the Fiscal Responsibility Act”.

Senator  Adeola had on Friday along with the Committee members met  the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed , the Accountant General of the Federation , Ahmed Idris and  DG, Budget Office in  getting their full buy-in and brief them on the revelations unearthed during the over four weeks long investigations with many agencies committing all manner of illegalities relating to the expenditure of government funds that should rightly be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF.

Most of the agencies he told them, abused the concept of operating surpluses to shortchange government as well as relying on ministerial circulars over and above the Constitution and FRA, 2007 as passed by the National Assembly. 

“Honourable Minister in view of the huge budget deficits accompanying our yearly budgets and the resort to huge borrowing to finance these deficits, the committee decided to probe into the revenue remittances by agencies of government as the government cannot continue to borrow yearly while the revenue from agencies that the government is financing with the borrowings are spent contrary to the laws of the land.”, he stated. 

He stressed further that from submissions already made and calculations from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, about 60 government owned enterprises, GOEs may have about N3Trillion of government revenue still unremitted in their coffers or already spent on frivolous expenditure contrary to the Constitution and FRA, 2007.

He added that since the commencement of the investigations some agencies have been directed and complied in paying back tens of millions of naira with receipts from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. 

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