Nigeria loses N5.8tr to unauthorised deductions, non-remittances
• Centre Wants AGF, EFCC, ICPC To Prosecute Defaulters
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) said Nigeria lost up to N5.786t between 2014 and 2017 due to unauthorised deductions and non-remittances to the Federation Account by ministries, departments and agencies.
Centre’s Lead Director, Eze Onyekpere, made this known during an analysis of key issues arising from the 2014 to 2017 Federal Audit Reports, as released by the Office of the Auditor-General, on Friday, in Abuja.
He said infractions, such as failure in remittance of internally-generated revenues and unspent funds into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, non-deductions, under deductions and non-remittance of taxes as well as irregularities in payments and expenditure among others, were major causes of huge financial leakages in the country.
He said: “President Buhari’s refusal to sign the Audit Bill is a very unfortunate scenario, because there is clear evidence that the bill was sent to him. He neither signed nor returned it to the National Assembly, as required by law. He did not give any reason for his refusal to sign the Bill.”
Onyekpere said if the Audit Bill is signed into Law, a lot of infractions and mismanagement of public funds, due to non-remittances, would be curtailed.
Presenting the analysis of the audit reports, Fidelis Onyejegbu said key agencies that were notorious for not returning unspent money, non- remittances of Internally-Generated Revenues (IGRs) among others, included Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, should embark on the prosecution and recovery of such remittances. The minister of finance also needs to devise a proper strategy to improve the oversight of revenue generating agencies,” he said.
Executive Director of the Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI), Olusegun Elemo, said mismanagement of public funds was a major contributor to Nigeria’s perennial budget deficit. He represented the agency’s researcher, Bukola Sowande.