Recently, the National Economic Council (NEC) set up a committee to carry out a forensic audit of revenue accrued into the Federation Account, Excess Crude Account and Consolidated Revenue Fund from 13 revenue-generating agencies (RGAs)
To this end, the committee uncovers the failure of the revenue generating agencies to remit same as according to it, the agencies has defrauded Nigeria by over N8 trillion in just five years.
Speaking after the meeting which waspresided over by the Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, listed the indicted agencies as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Department of Petroleum Resources, Customs, etc, and said those found to have perpetrated the crime would face the law.
The forensic audit was carried out by internationally renowned firm, KPMG. He said: “KPMG presented the report of the technical audit of RGAs, concluding that a total sum of N526 billion and $21 billion were under-paid to the Federation Account. “NEC’s Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Gombe State governor, with members including the governors of Edo, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Lagos and the finance minister recommended refund of the amounts under-paid. “Council adopted the presentations and reports of the KPMG and the recommendations of its Ad-hoc Committee, including a resolution to identify instances where there appears to have been criminal infringements and forward such to the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Legal Committee of the National Economic Council for further action.”
He further stated that NEC resolved to strengthen NNPC’s governance structure to prevent further recurrence of such gross under-remittance by the state oil company and other RGAs. According g to him, the audit was for the revenue generating agencies that had paid into the federation account and those that paid for federal government agencies.
Dankwambo emphasised that they are focusing on federation account because those that paid, by law, to federal government are the responsibility of the federal government. He noted that the audit covered the period from 2010 to June 2015 and involved all the entities that were supposed to pay revenues into government coffers, adding that NEC had resolved to extend the audit to June 2017, and will cover the remaining agencies. “It is NNPC, NPDC, DPR, Customs, FIRS, Maritime Authorities – all the revenue generating agencies, and the details of the infringement are contained in the report. Because it is voluminous report, there are a lot of items that are there.
“The most important decision that was taken is that a sub-committee will be set up which will be an arm of the legal committee of NEC that will look into the details of these kinds of infringements and make sure that those issues that are criminal and require prosecution are handled by Office of the Attorney General of the Federation,” he stated.
During his briefing Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said NEC discussed the question of states to determine how much is paid as subsidy by government and not NNPC. Yari said, “Yes, the item was brought up for discussion but it was referred back to the sub-committee on remittances which I’m chair. We are doing the nitty-gritty with NNPC in terms of remittances.
Don’t forget that the reason we got it right in 2016 on the NNPC side is because the oil prices were too low, it was easy for everyone to get fuel into the country and then make their profit. “So, when the price started going up, then the marketers started adjusting because they need to have a template of cost recovery and how they are going to make up the difference from the pump price to the landing cost of what they are importing.” He said the governors have an issue with the volume of petrol declared as the national consumption figure, saying it is not acceptable.
Yari said: “Working with the governors, so many decisions were taken, but by next month, we are going to adopt that position either for the governors to take responsibility for the subsidy in their states based on the consumption, or we look at other ways. “For instance, if you say we paid N800 billion subsidy, you will ask who are we paying the subsidy to? And if you look at infrastructure development and capital programme of the federal government, it is about N1.1 trillion; the cost of subsidy is almost 70 per cent of what you are spending developing the economy. If there is no infrastructure development, then you cannot talk about development of the economy. N800 billion is a huge amount that we must look at it (to know) who is benefiting from it.
“So, we are coming up with a strategy; we are going to meet in the month of May and June. By the next meeting, we will definitely come up with a position of the government on both the level of volume of what is being brought into the country and what the state and federal governments collaborate to check.” Meanwhile, the minister of Finance reported to the Council that, as at May 14, 2018, the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at N1, 830, 682, 945.30 ($1.83 trillion), the balance of the Stabilisation Account stood at N15, 725,456,963.83 ($15.7 billion) while the balance of the Natural Resources Development Fund was N116, 104,644,763.39 (N116.1billion)