The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, has told the Senate Committee on Finance that his office holds the Senate no obligation to furnish it with what comes or goes out of the Consolidated Revenue Account of the federation.
Idris said this yesterday, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance Chaired by Senator Olamilekan Adeola to defend his office’s 2022 budget estimates.
The Accountant General who is the administrative head of the country’s treasury earlier in his report gave a sketchy review of the budget performance of the 2021 fiscal year, which excluded the revenue realised by the federal government.
He told the Committee that there have been increase in remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Account, saying it was the first time the in history of the country that there have been Finance Attache spread across the country’s foreign missions abroad.
Idris said his office has also deployed a team of “ten revenue directors to various revenue generating agencies and so far it has yeilded a very good results”.
Not satisfied with the report, Senator Adeola requested the Accountant General to furnish the Committee with the revenue surplus the government had till September to validate his report on the rise of revenue as a result of the deployment of revenue directors across major revenue generating agencies and departments.
Other members of the Committee also requested that he furnish them with what came in and what went out of the federation account during the months under consideration, which include what all the various agencies remitted.
On his part, Senator James Manager, said he was not comfortable with the report of the office of the Account General as it was expected that the office provides the Committee with details of revenue remitted by various agencies into the CRA.
He said: “When giving us a general overview of what the government is getting and what the government is spending, one thing that I expect from this your high exalted office is some sort of clue to what these revenue generating agencies of government are bringing. What is the revenue profile of the government, so that we now know how much is coming into the coffers of this government from within. So that we can now advise ourselves as to whether or not to continue to borrow”.
The ranking Senator expressed fear over the continue borrowing by the federal government, noting that recent investigation by the Committee has shown that there are a lot of leakages in revenue generating agencies.
Responding to the request of the Committee, the Account General declined speaking on the revenue remitted to the CRA and and what went out of it from January to September 2021.
He said: “With due respect to this honorable Committee, my preoccupation here is to present the budget of the office of the Accountant General of the Federation not budget of the of the Federal Government.
Idris however pleaded that if his presentation did not satisfy the Committee, he should be given the time to update the committee with every necessary information it so desired.
On the issue of Remittance, Senator Biodun Olujimi expressed worries over the delay and risk of not decentralising payment platform to the Consolidated Revenue Account.
The Accountant General however assured that other players would come on board soon as the agreement with Remittance ends in November. He said Remittance had before this time given the government N10 billion waiver and should be allowed to exhaust the time frame given to it.
His words: “There are some agreement between us, the ministries and of course Remittance to allow them to operate till November this year. The CBN, our office and the Ministry of Finance, are also in the Know of this arrangement.
According to him, there are already plans to derisk the process by bringing in more players as solution finders.