By Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Representatives on Monday insisted that revenue generating agencies of government must remit the correct amount of their internally generated revenues which is 25 percent as stipulated by the laws into the federation account.
The chairman of the House committee on Healthcare Services, Rep. Yusuf Sununu, (APC, kebbi), stated this while addressing agencies at the budget defence session held in Abuja.
The lawmaker noting the warning given by President Muhammadu Buhari that the Legislature must assist the Executive in compelling MDAs to remit IGR, stressed that it is only through such remittances that government can effectively finance the 2021 budget.
He said: “Let’s also try to emphasize that revenues generated by MDAs are supposed to be remitted to the Federal government in their right percentage.”
“With that the amount of revenue needed to finance the budget every year will be drastically reduced. That is if all revenue generating MDAs remit what’s due to government in all honesty and truth — and as and when due.
“So this committee will do its due diligence in looking at the revenues of agencies under our purview and ensure that the right amount is remitted before consideration for their 2021 budget proposals.”, chairman Sununu said.
In keeping faith with the committee resolution, budget proposals from four different agencies were rejected following discovery that they could not provide records of 25 percent remittance of their IGR.
While the Medical Science Laboratory Council of Nigeria, Radiographers Registration Council of Nigeria, the Nigeria Pharmaceutical Research Institute (NIPRI) as well as the Community Health Practitioners Registration Board, all fell short of this requirement and were sent packing on Monday, the Dental and Medical Council of Nigeria was turned away due to the absence of its chief executive.
The agencies given a clean bill of health with a budget approvals were the Nursing and Midwifery Registration Council, as well as the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, Yaba Lagos.
Tosan Erhabor, Registrar and chief executive officer of Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria, had irked the lawmakers when he disclosed that the council’s IGR was used to offset the running cost.
He said: “the sum of N136m was generated so far this year but we are unable to remit the 25 percent as laid down by the rules due to covid-19 which led to putting on hold our inspection and accreditation of training courses from where more money comes in.”
He however expressed optimism that something tangible could still be done before the end of the year, saying that if not that the calibration pit wasn’t put in place as expected, Nigeria would have been able to test for covid-19.
Members observed that despite covid-19, the shortfall in revenue generation shouldn’t have been across board like the Registrar reported.
But the committee chairman noted that the agency though hampered by covid-19 should still have generated more revenue beyond what it got.
He asked, “apart from inspection and accreditation, weren’t there any other services to private organisations that generated funds?”
“Because you are an agency that’s really short of N20m remittance to the Federal government,” he said, just as he ruled that “the registrar liaise with the deputy chairman on Friday by providing evidence of remittances to the Federal Government.”