We don’t need Chinese loans if MDAs remit revenues –Reps

The House of Representatives has decried the non-remittance and under-remittances of Internally Generated Revenue by ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government, directing the Budget Office of the Federation to deduct the balance of such revenues from the allocation of defaulting MDAs.

The House issued the directive in Abuja on Wednesday at an interactive session organised by the Joint Committee on Finance; Appropriation; National Planning and Economic Development; and Aids, Loans and Debt Management on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

According to the House, Nigeria does not need to seek external borrowings especially from China if the MDAs properly remit their internally generated revenues.

Already, Nigerians are becoming agitated by the rising debt profile of the country, with the National Assembly raising concerns over external loan agreements between Nigeria, global bodies and countries, especially China.

Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, James Faleke, who is also the chairman of the joint committee, said the Federal Government had lost over N7bn to under-remittance by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control.

He said, “In the past few weeks, we have been talking about Chinese loans when the money is there in the system. We have the money in Nigeria but we are not doing the needful.

“We are not remitting what we are supposed to remit. The private sector will not remit the taxes and you, government agencies, being paid salaries, will not remit.

“Where will the government get money to fund the capital projects when we have deficit budget every year. I don’t think it is fair on the system. An agency came here and said they will generate N100m but will spend N130m; how?”

The committee had discovered that NAFDAC had failed to remit revenue of about N10bn to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, as the agency claimed to have spent the money on inspection of factories belonging to its clients, who wanted to either establish a factory or want to import products.

The Director, Administration and Human Resources, NAFDAC, Joseph Aina, who represented the Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said the agency obtained the permission of the Budget Office of the Federation to spend the money generated through its User Fee platform.

Faleke, however, said, “The fact that you have a shortfall in releases, does not empower you to spend your IGR. Tell Madam (Adeyeye) that we will not take it.

“She is there to reform the system and we trust that she will do that. But you cannot spend the IGR the way you like. If you do that, the accounting officer can be prosecuted and we as National Assembly will see to that.”

Meanwhile, the committee also scrutinised the revenue performance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The Group General Manager, Corporate Planning and Strategy of NNPC, Meyiwa Eyesan, said, “While the NNPC remitted N1.249tn in 2018 and N1.146tn in 2019, the figures were net of cost recovery.

“For 2021, there is a projected revenue of N3.54tn; 2022, N4.385tn; and for 2023, N5.341tn and we are projecting a flat crude oil price for the period. I think that is understandable given the precarious situation that we find ourselves in 2020.”