The House of Representatives Tuesday decided to clamp down on revenue generating agencies by proposing a consolidated amendment to the legislations establishing the agencies.
Through the amendment, the legislature intends to delete clauses that contravene the 1999 Constitution on revenue remittances.
It has also proposed the creation of a special sub-head in the revenue framework to capture the gross earnings of all revenue generating agencies instead of the current situation where they only remit the “operating surplus” to either the Federation Account or Consolidated Revenue of the Federation.
Both decisions coincided with that of the House Committee on Finance to commence new investigations into the operations of government agencies.
The committee wants to ascertain the quantum of revenue generated annually and how much they have remitted to government coffers since 2009.
Of the 62 agencies invited for the exercise, about 15 including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigeria Export Processing Zone (NEPZA) were absent.
A mild drama however played out when the delegation from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was walked out of the venue of the investigation on the grounds that they were invited in error.
Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. Abdulmumuni Jibrin, said the decision to excuse SEC from the event was in line with an earlier resolution passed in the chamber, declaring that the House would no longer have anything to do with SEC as long as Ms. Arunma Oteh remained the Director General of the organisation.
Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, said investigations into the operations of the revenue agencies was in line with the Legislative Agenda of the 7th House to plug all leakages in federally collectable revenue and ensure full and transparent disclosure of all revenues and receipts by corporations and agencies on behalf of government as prescribed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
The current move, he said, was also borne out of the need to return Nigeria to sound fiscal health and financial prudence anchored on constitutionality and legality.
Tambuwal, who was represented at the event by his deputy, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, said that for a long time, revenue leakages had plagued the country's finances to the detriment of the economy and well being of Nigerians.
In addition to the issue of revenue remittance, Tambuwal said, another important aspect of the public finance operations, which has been breached by the agencies of government, is the rule that no expenditure must be made without appropriation by the National Assembly.
In the opening remarks, Jibrin explained that the ongoing investigation was not meant to persecute any agency or individual but to enable the committee track previously uncaptured internally generated revenue of government; have a clearer picture of actual revenue generation and expenditure of the Federal Government; and monitor agencies' compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act.