The House of Representatives committee on Finance has queried the office of Accountant General of the Federation (oAGF) for failing to render an account of over N738 million.
The Mr James Abiodun Faleke-led committee while reviewing the 2020 to 2022 budget defence and 2023-2025 Medium-term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Policy Paper (FPP), observed that the alleged missing monies represent 25 percent of the N6 billion internally revenue generated by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for 2020 fiscal year.
Trouble started the AoGF officials failed to offer satisfactory explanations to Faleke who demanded for evidence of the N738 million representing 25 percent of the SEC revenue in the 2020 fiscal year.
The Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Mr Saidu Abdullahi who spoke in the same vein expressed surprise that the SEC Director General, Mr Lamido Yuguda feigned ignorance of calls for relevant documents on the remittances to the federation account.
He noted: “oAGF you’re supposed to know, this was actually in the news and you’ve been part of us since we started this session. If you look at our newspaper advert you will see that SEC is actually supposed to appear today, so you are supposed to know.”
Piqued by the development,. Faleke said: “Accountant general honestly, are you happy with your job, are you satisfied that you are doing the right thing and you are presenting the necessary information to Nigerians through this Committee?”
“It’s rather unfortunate honestly. At least I can see the laptop in front of my brother, it’s no longer manual.”
While responding to an inquiry on the evidence of the 25 percent remittance of the N6 billion revenue generated in 2020, the SEC Director General observed that the money is deducted from the source automatically, adding that the system is too effective.
While responding to the question on the period when the Commission makes a marginal profit, Yuguda affirmed that the Commission makes an operating surplus in its operation.
Yuguda who explained that the Commission is self-funded acknowledged that the Commission is expected to remit 25 percent of its revenue at source, that’s where we receive them and then another 15 percent of our revenue at the end of our financial year.
“We are expected to remit 25 percent of our revenues at source, that’s where we receive them and then another 15 percent of our revenue at the end of our financial year, when we are auditing financial statement.”
When asked to give details of the N6 billion revenue accrued to the Commission in 2020, Yuguda said: “page one we have our audited financial statement. Pages 3 to 19 we have a schedule that shows all the remittances that we have made for the 12 months in 2021 and then for the six months in 2022 from January…”
While acknowledging the N6 billion income, Hon. Faleke asked: “Where is the remittance? No, don’t rush us. N6 billion income where is the 25 percent, tell me where it is, 25 percent of the N6 billion.
On the reforms initiated to reposition the Commission, Mr Yuguda who applauded the Committee’s engagement held “last year and year before the last, which was a particularly difficult time for the commission. We came at a time when the commission was really running a deficit and we promised you at that time that we are going to take certain actions to really make this deficit a thing of the past.
“I think our story this year, is that we have actually turned a corner. If you look at our 2021 and 2020 compared to 2022, the budget and the actual for the six months in 2022 you’ll see that there is actually a tremendous improvement in the way we manage the financials of the commission.”
According to him, the Commission’s budget “projected deficit of N1.6 billion but as at the end of the first half, we actually had a surplus of N2.5”, adding that the success was the outcome of efforts made over the past few years to position the Commission on the path of fiscal sustainability.
He affirmed that the new management resolved to cut costs, especially last year when the commission was top-heavy we say before this committee that we had a plan to offer a voluntary early exit to some of our top personnel and I’m happy to report that at the end of last year, we actually did offer this scheme and quite a number of our staff took this offer and we are able to successfully reduce our staff strength by about 30 percent.
He stated that all the staff who were retired had been paid their full entitlement to date, adding that nobody is being owed any penny.