By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has described the lingering face-off between the Ministry of Finance, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), State Governments and revenue generating organs of the federal government as an evidence of the gravity of revenue leakages in the Nigerian economy.
Dogara made the assertion during an investigative hearing organised by the ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the activities of Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), and other institutions responsible for revenue remittances into the Federation Account and other matters arising in such regard.
Noting that attaining economic growth and development and reviving dwindling oil fortunes cannot be achieved unless all revenue leakages are blocked, Dogara stated that: “You may all recall that the Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting in July was stalemated, two or three times, due to controversies over unremitted revenue. This led to delays in the payment of salaries by the federal and state governments and other budgetary expenditures in most federal government agencies and establishments.
“The continuous face-off with respect to revenue remittances and figures between the Ministry of Finance and NNPC on one hand as well as State Governments and revenue generating organs of the federal government on the other hand, only show some of the many instances of unending issues of revenue leakages in our economy.
“With the dwindling oil fortunes, and the spirited efforts being made in the country to diversify our economic base, there is no gain saying the fact that closing up leakages in our system has become imperative if we must grow our economy and accelerate the development of the country at this period of economic downturn.
“At this period, when government is making efforts towards diversifying the economy in order to reduce the country’s over-reliance on the oil sector, it is disheartening to hear repeated allegations of non-remittances of huge amounts of revenue by Agencies required generating and managing our revenue.”
Dogara hinted that the report expected from the committee would guide the House to make appropriate resolutions with a view to averting further under-remittances of revenue to the federation account, if any.