The Senate on Wednesday in Abuja accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of withholding 80% remittable operational surplus meant for the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) over the last five years.
The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly also lamented that ” Nigeria wouldn’t have been having problem of inadequate revenue to fund its annual budget if revenue generating agencies, were remitting 80% of their operational surpluses into the CRF as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola, (APC Lagos) at the start of a 3 Day interactive session with revenue generating agencies of government said, “specifically, the Central Bank of Nigeria which has yearly budget of N2.3trillion has not remitted any revenue from its operational surpluses into the Consolidated Revenue Fund within the last five years.”
However, the Deputy Governor of CBN (Economic Policy), Dr Kingsley Obiora carpeted the allegation, insisting that the affected 80% operational surpluses of the Apex bank have always been remitted to the CRF, yearly.
According to him, the remittance is done in line with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and not that of the CBN Act which stipulates 75% remittance.
Obiora retorted, “with all due respect to the Senate and in particular, this committee, the CBN as a law abiding government agency, had not at anytime, defaulted in the remittance of its operational surpluses .
” We do this on yearly basis as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act despite the fact that the CBN Act requires us to remit 75% only “, he said.
Reacting to the CBN’s claims, the Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West) directed the CBN to produce documentary evidence of its remittances within the last five years unfailingly Friday this week .
He also told the Apex Bank to produce its Audited Account in the last five years as well as its position paper on monetary policy point of view on the 2022 – 2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)and Fiscal Strategy Paper being considered by the committee .
“He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. Since you have declared before the whole world that CBN has been remitting 80% operational surpluses into CRF, it is necessary that we see the documentary evidence, as that would lay the controversy to rest.
“Let’s have these documents latest by 11:00am on Friday,” he directed.
Attempt by the committee chairman to drag the Director General of Budget Office, Mr Benjamin Akabueze to confirm or dispute the claims of the CBN proved abortive as Akabueze said verification to that effect will be determined by an ongoing process.
In the meantime, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Ahmeed Ali has disclosed that unpredictable importation and smuggling continues to militate against optimal revenue generation for the service.
The CGS said this at the interactive session of the Senate Joint Committee on Finance, National Planning, Foreign and Local Debts, Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Petroleum (Downstream and Upstream) and Gas on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
Hameed said rather than relying on collection of excise from local manufacturing industries, bulk revenue collections come from export duties.