Everest Amaefule, Abuja
The Federal Government has made a total of N1.27tn from the payment of operating surpluses by its agencies in the 10 years of operation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, investigation has shown.
A table prepared by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, entitled: ‘List of Schedule Corporations and Operating Surplus Remittance to FGN Consolidated Revenue Fund,’ showed that between 2007 and 2016, the scheduled organisations paid a total of N1.27tn into the coffers of the government.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 requires listed government agencies to remit 80 per cent of their annual operating surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The operating surplus is made up of revenues accruing to government agencies above what they are approved to spend at the beginning of the budget year.
The table showed that compliance with the payment of the operating surplus had been increasing over the years with more funds coming in the later years. Between 2007 and 2010, which were the formative years of the FRC, a total of N151.95bn was paid by the agencies.
In 2011, a total of N13.85bn was paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund as operating surplus. This jumped to N132.47bn in 2012 and N153.51bn in 2013.
According to the table, the Federal Government received a total of N244.99bn in 2014. The figure increased further to N323.56bn in 2015, while the collection came down to N253.61bn in 2016. Thus, the highest amount accruing to the Federal Government from operating surpluses in a single year occurred in 2015.
The FRC attributed the increment in the payment of operating surpluses to its monitoring and intervention activities.
The commission said, “In 2016, the commission continued its monitoring of the remittance of the operating surpluses of the scheduled corporations. As usual, a corporation’s annual report from which operating surplus/deficit is determined is prepared in the year succeeding the one being reported on.
“It is instructive that the sum received by the Federal Government as its share of operating surpluses from the corporations has recorded year-on-year increase since 2007 to 2012. It is not in doubt that this improvement in returns to the Federal Government was engendered by the interventions of the FRC.
“However, the sum accruing to the CRF has been on a relative decline as a result of lackadaisical attitudes of agencies to compliance. In order to secure greater compliance, especially in the remittance of operating surplus, the commission intensified efforts at implementing operating surplus template for the calculation of operating surplus liabilities across scheduled corporations.”
It added, “It is hoped that full compliance with the Treasury Single Account will greatly enhance operating surplus remittance as the treasury will have direct access to the funds available to every agency.
“As opposed to chasing corporations for remittances to the CRF, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation will be advised on what to recover from corporations once the appropriate liability has been ascertained and agreed.”
With a payment of N780.4bn, the Central Bank of Nigeria made the highest remittance of operating surplus to the Federal Government. Other agencies with high remittances include the Nigerian Ports Authority, with N115.58bn; and the Nigerian Communications Commission, N111.22bn.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is one of the most prominent organisations that has not made a single contribution as operating surplus.
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