A period of reckoning is here for all Federal Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies ( MDAs) which have been generating revenues and diverting them instead of remitting them into the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund ( CRF) Account maintained at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
For such MDAs, their accounts at both the CBN and banks across the country are to be frozen until all their obligations to the CRF are liquidated. This is real and the enforcement takes effect on June 17, 2013.
The action is being taken by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who Thursday revealed that a preliminary search had already identified N58 billion of such funds by some MDAs which had been kept away from the CRF.
The revelation is contained in a statement by the minister herself Thursday r in Abuja.
It reads in part: “It has come to the attention of the Federal Ministry of Finance that some Federal Government’s agencies that generate independent revenue, in collusion with some banks, have refused to remit monies to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government which they are obliged by law to do.
“We have identified about N58 billion of such monies which rightfully belongs in the CRF. This unwholesome practice has persisted despite the efforts of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) to encourage the agencies and the affected banks to do the right thing.
“Rather than comply, the agencies and banks, through their lawyers have engaged in all manner of legal subterfuges to ensure that monies which are due to the Federal Government are not remitted. The objective of this conspiracy against the national interest is clear: to keep government monies indefinitely in accounts earning interest for individuals at the expense of the Federal Government and the Nigerian people.
“This is totally unacceptable and the Federal Ministry of Finance is determined that this practice must end forthwith. Starting Monday, June 17, 2013, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, in exercise of its powers under the extant laws and rules, will close the accounts of agencies involved in this practice in ALL banks.
“This process of systematic closure will continue until all monies that should be in the Consolidated Revenue Fund are retrieved.”
The action is part of the minister’s effort at curbing waste in the public life and directing government’s scarce resources to fix critical infrastructure for which the country has always resorted to either domestic or foreign borrowing to fix.
The action is coming on the heels of a similar probe of banks collecting the Federation Account revenue from the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Service belonging to the three tiers of government which began last month, owing to the establishment of the fact that some of the revenues were being diverted by the banks with the connivance of officials of the two revenue agencies. The report of the probe is expected late August this year.
Information from The Guardian was used in this report.