Thursday, 17 December 2015
Fresh Drama: Senate Uncovers N701bn Illegal Withdrawals From Natural Resources Fund(Photo)
The monies, according to the chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim, was withdrawn between 2002 and 2012, out of the total sum of N873,400,023,790.19 which accrued to the Fund within the same period.
The Fund, established by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in 2001, derives its funds from 1.68% of the Federation Account for the development of alternative natural resources outside oil and gas.
In a statement by his media aide, Gabriel Agbonika, the Senate committee chairman expressed dissatisfaction over the refusal of federal government to utilise the fund since 2001 for the purposes for which it was established, rather they were expended on contracts and programmes outside of its purview.
The statement reads in parts: “It has been discovered, however, that since its inception, the fund was never appropriately utilised for the purpose it was established.
“For example, it has been discovered that out of the total amount of N873,400,023,790.19 which accrued to the Fund between 2002 and 2012, the sum of N701, 489,494,960.61 was illegally paid put from the account for programmes/projects that have little or no relevance to natural resources development.
“In 2012 the Senate, which acted on my sponsored motion, mandated the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the funds, stressing that the report of the committee has shown clearly how the account of the Fund was misapplied.
“The purpose of the Fund is to provide possibility for every part of the country, other than oil and gas, to benefit from the principle of derivation; therefore I am calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate thoroughly what has happened to the fund’s account between 2012 to date, with a view to appropriately determine the exact position of the fund.”
PMB Writes Senate, To Present 2016 Budget Next Tuesday
President Muhammadu Buhari has written the Senate, seeking its permission to present the 2016 budget next Tuesday at 10am.
Senate President Bukola Saraki read the president’s letter on the floor of the Senate yesterday.
In a related development, the Senate also passed the 2016-2018 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper and approved the exchange rate of N197 to a dollar for the 2016 budget.
Pegs crude at $38pb for 2016 budget
The upper legislative chamber also pegged the oil benchmark price of 38 dollars per barrel as well as N5.7billion for the non-oil revenue projection for the 2016 budget and urged the federal government to sustain the current tempo towards increasing independent revenue and diversification of the economy.
While commending the federal government for the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Senate called on the government to establish a database and possibly a single salary account for all its employees in order to streamline and reduce its personnel cost.