The Federal Government through the the minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has revealed that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the last administration did not remit revenues generated to the government’s purse.
Recall that the immediate past director-general of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolkemi, is currently facing 40 counts of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N34.5bn.
Specifically, the minister said NIMASA collected revenue in dollars but paid naira into the government’s account.
The minister also revealed that it was not only NIMASA that was involvedl in this act. She revealed that an audit was being carried out to identify other agencies.
“The principal discussion in our meeting today was the initiative by this administration to plug revenue leakages in our MDAs that generate revenue. The presentation to FEC was to remind ministers who supervise these revenue-generating boards of their responsibilities under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“Let me remind you that under the FRA, these boards and corporations who generate revenue are supposed to generate and operate surplus, 80 per cent of which is to be credited to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“But we have discovered that many agencies have never credited anything and never generated any operating surplus including some whose salaries, overheads and capital are paid by the Federal Government.
“In addition to that, they generate revenue which they spend without any form of control,” the minister was quoted by various newspapers.
Adeosun ruled out the possibility of any ministry inflating its budget when there was no revenue
“There can be no inflation of budget when revenues are so thin and one of the things that I think that the budgeting process is doing is pruning down unnecessary expenditure.
“Let me also mention that we have set up the efficiency unit that is going to look into how we spend money and look at how we make savings because the money just isn’t there.”
Adeosun said the Federal Government had discovered that many revenue-generating agencies had not been remitting the revenues generated to the government’s coffers.
“What we discussed today (Wednesday) was the responsibility of the ministers to ensure that whether those agencies have boards or not, those budgets are prepared and that the Ministry of Finance is going to sit down with the supervising ministers and the boards concerned where necessary, to go through their budgets and make sure that they are reasonable and that the costs are not inflated.
“We also discussed that in some cases, because some agencies have a track record and history of making sure that every naira they earned was spent, we will go in and audit agencies under Section 107 (8) of the Financial Regulations.
“The Accountant-General, who is under the Ministry of Finance, has the power to go in and make inquiries about how public money is spent, so we will be sending in auditors to some agencies where we believe their cost is simply excessive and not in tandem with our expectations.
“The expected outcome of this is that the Internally Generated Revenue which the new budget is banking on will actually become a reality. So, that was the principal discussion and everybody in the cabinet endorsed the initiative.”