By Gift Chapi Odekina
The chairman of Fisical Responsibility Commission (FRC) Victor Muruako has revealed that 33 Ministries, Departments and Agencies have refused to remmit over 1.2 trillion naira to the federal government.
Muruako who stated this at a news conference held in Abuja, said that the agencies have not submitted their audited financial statements from inception.
“Sadly, many MDAs still persist in defaulting and practically keeping money away from the federal government’s reach for funding its budgets. Our records indicate that over N1.2 Trillion is still in the hands of defaulting MDAs.
“These figures are confirmed from our analysis of the annual audited financial reports submitted to our Commission by the concerned Agencies. Much more is yet out there in the hands of MDAs that either have failed to dutifully audit their accounts or that have done so but choose not to forward copies of their audited financial reports to the Commission as required by law.
The chairman further called the setting of overall limits for the amounts of consolidated debt of the Federal, State and Local Governments.
“Section 42 (1) of the FRA 2007 prescribes the setting of limits for debts of the Federal, State and Local Governments.
“Incidentally, this is yet to be done. This delay has become a cog in the wheel of the Commission’s debt monitoring function and the state of affair makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the FRC to implement Section 42 (3)-(5) of the FRA, 2007.
“We understand that the fact that States are yet to have data on their GDPs is part of the challenge in setting the debt limits. While the Debt Management Office (DMO) relies on the globally acknowledged index of debt-to-GDP-ratio for measuring the sustainability of the nation’s debt profile, the sustainability of debts of respective States is left unmeasured.
“Given the peculiarities of the Governments in the Federation, all States need not have equal access to debt, indebtedness and borrowing. There is therefore the need for expedited action towards setting the limits as provided for in the FRA 2007.
Also called for the closing of Gaps in the Present FRA, 2007. According to him, it was defective in many regards.
“When we noticed that some government agencies were taking advantage of loopholes in the Act, we started pushing for its amendment which is already at the Committee stage in the Senate.
“We hope that the amendment will scale through to enable us sanction those who go against the Act and help strengthen the economy. The Commission fully appreciates the positive interest and avowed commitment of both Chambers of the National Assembly which enacted the Act in the first place, to its quick amendment.
Speaking on verification of Federal Government Capital Projects he said in line with the commissions act, the commission had since inception, conducted verification of over a 1,000 capital projects across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria adding that Over 60% of government agencies do not associate their annual budgets with a Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.
This he said was responsible for some agencies simultaneously undertaking more projects than they could handle per time.
“The penchant of approving new contracts by new Governments to the detriment of existing contracts as well as inadequate funding lead to a litter of abandoned projects,”he added.