…Heads of agencies shun Senate session on 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP
Daily Metro News NG
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) remitted a meagre N44.5billion into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) out of N2.4trillion generated as revenue in 2019 fiscal year.
The revelation came to the open on Friday at the ongoing interactive session on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) organized by the Joint Senate Committee on Finance and National Planning at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
Trouble started when the joint committee chairman, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West), demanded for records of the agency’s internally generated revenues in 2019 and projections for 2021.
DPR’s Head of Planning, Mr Johnson Ajewole, who represented the Director, Engr Sarki Auwalu, said a total N2.4trillion was generated by DPR in 2019 but only N44.5billion was remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Dissatisfied with the wide gap in what was realised and remitted, the committee members described development as unacceptable.
Efforts made by the Head of Finance and Accounts of the agency, Mrs Lilian Ufondu, to explain the wide gap in revenue and remittance, further angered the committee members.
According to her, out of the N2.4trillion generated by DPR in 2019, N88billion was removed as 4% collection fee out of which N5.72billion was also remitted while the balance was used for overhead cost of the agency.
Ufondu couldn’t provide the details of the overhead costs despite probing questions from the lawmakers.
She added that as at July this year, DPR has generated N1.13trillion and projecting N3.4trillion as revenues generation for 2021 out which N139billion will be taken out as 4% collection fee.
Angered by the submissions and the apparent disjointed presentations, the committee consequently ordered that the agency should reappear before it unfailingly on Tuesday next week and must be led by its Director, Sarki Auwalu, who was said to have traveled abroad.
The committee chairman said “Information and records presented to us by both Directors or heads of departments that have spoken are not clear and insufficient as regards budget performance of DPR within the last three years and revenue projection for 2021.
“For this committee to do proper and thorough job, comprehensive records of such budget performances must be made available latest by Monday next week, upon which your Director and other top management staff , will appear before us again on Tuesday next week.
“Also , well detailed proposals for revenues generation by the agency for 2021-2022 must be included in the expected comprehensive records,” the lawmaker added.
Efforts made by journalists to make the agency’s head of Finance and Accounts , Lilian Ufondu, explain her inability and that of her counterpart on Planning , Johnson Ajewole , to make satisfactory submissions before the committee , proved abortive , as lamented that the day was a bad one for her and DPR.
“I’m sad and is a bad day for us . We are told to come back and we shall return on Tuesday next week “, she lamented.
Like DPR, heads of other revenue-generating agencies like Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Bank of Industry (BOI) and Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) were absent at the interactive session and accordingly ordered by the committee to reappear on Monday next week.
While NIWA’s boss was said to have traveled abroad, those of BOI and SON were said to be either indisposed or hospitalized.
When asked by the Senate committee’s chairman, the hospital the Director-General of SON, Osita Aboloma, is being attended to, from the Director of Budget, David Okon, who represented him, he said “I don’t know,” which led to laughter in the hall.