Senate Summons SGF over N596bn Ecological Fund Account

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Tasks revenue agencies on optimal performance

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate thursday summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, to explain how N596 billion that accrued to the Ecological Fund Account from 1999 to 2015 was expended.

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide said the government scribe is being invited to appear before the committee to shed more light on the financial details of the Ecological Fund Account in 16 years.

The committee chairman, who spoke when the heads of government departments and agencies came to defend their 2015 audited accounts before the committee, emphasised that “the SGF is being invited to come and brief us on the statement of account of the Ecological Fund.”

Earlier, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, failed to explain to the committee how the fund was expended.

The committee chairman had asked the representative of the CBN Governor and AGF of the Federation to explain the details of the Ecological Fund.

Responding, the AGF told the lawmakers that the fund, which is domiciled in the CBN account had been invested

The CBN, however, said it was not ready with the report pleading with the committee to choose another date for it to submit the report for consideration.

The Chairman of the committee thereafter directed, “the Central Bank to come and furnish us with statement of account of the Ecological Fund”.

Meanwhile, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has asked revenue generation agencies to set measurable targets for their performance.

Lawan, who stated this yesterday evening while declaring open the maiden meeting of the Senate committee on Finance with heads of revenue generation agencies of the government said Nigeria’s problem today is how to generate and remit revenue to the government’s treasury.

“We have very massive, noble and laudable projects lined up as a government and as an administration but the critical factor of revenue is militating against the realisation of some of these projects. Infact, Nigeria has to go out to borrow to fund some of these projects. But we believe that we can do better in terms of revenue generation and collection.

“We believe that in addition to the oil sector, those non-oil sector revenue generation agencies can meet their targets and even do better than the targets,” Lawan said.

According to him, the meeting which will hold every quarter was not intended as a probe or investigation but simply to enhance their capacity to perform.

“We want to see where we need to do more legislative intervention and give some supports including incentives. Every agency that is revenue generating should have a target. We have asked the minister of finance to furnish us with the targets set by the ministry in conjunction with the agencies.

And we are going to work towards the realisation and actualisation of those targets. Where we are able to meet the targets, I think we should aim for higher targets. Where we are not able to meet the targets, we should find out why we are not able to meet those targets

“Is it something that requires immediate legislative intervention to resolve the problem or the challenge? Or is the policy that is now becoming an ecumberance. What we intend to do is to ensure that there are no ecumberances. Revenue generation agencies should have no ecumberances. Where you have one, don’t waste time, we will provide legislative intervention required as fast, as expeditious as possible because time is of essence”, he stated.