Ndubuisi Francis and James Emejo in Abuja
No fewer than 50 Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs) are yet to remit about N2.78 trillion to the Federation Account as operating surpluses in line with the provisions of the law.
Some of the GEOs and agencies identified to be owing operating surplus to the Federation Account include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which is said to owe N801.18 billion; Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) N1.34 trillion; Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC)– N30.85 million; Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC)– N11.99 billion and National Examination Council (NECO)– N16.33 billion.
Others are NIMASA– N192.10 billion; Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) N8.81 billion among others.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, mandates any government agency that generates revenue to remit 80 per cent of its operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) account.
Sections 21 and 22 of the Act state that government corporations and agencies shall, not later than six months from the commencement of the Act and every three financial years thereafter and not later than the end of the second quarter of every year, cause to be prepared and submitted to the finance minister their schedule estimates of revenue and expenditure for the next three financial years.
Contrary to these provisions, the federal government lamented Tuesday that despite an investment of about N40 trillion in the Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) over the years, they had only been able to pay an ‘insignificant’ amount as operating surpluses into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
The Director General, Budget Office of the Federation (BoF), Mr. Ben Akabueze, who spoke at a town hall meeting with chief executives of government enterprises on the new Revenue Performance Management Framework for GOEs, said the enterprises were yet to remit about N2.78 trillion.
Quoting figures from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, he noted that over 50 companies currently owe about N2.78 trillion to the Federation Account as operating surpluses which were yet to be remitted.
He noted that there could be some discrepancies as some may have offset part of their indebtedness.
However, Akabueze said the situation had resulted to huge revenue challenges for government, particularly for the provision of basic infrastructure for Nigerians.
He said government is currently under-investing in critical sectors including education and health largely because of paucity of funds.
Akabueze noted that efforts were being intensified towards bridging the infrastructural gaps through borrowing.