The House of Representatives Committee on Finance on Tuesday indicted the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) over non remittance of over N12 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.
Chairman of the Committee, Rep. James Abiodun Faleke told the Comptroller General of Immigration, Alhaji Mohammed Babandede that his agency was indebted to the government to the tune of N11.2 billion and directed them to go and reconcile their records with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation before coming back to face the committee at a later date.
Faleke also told the PCN that they were owing the government about N1.72 billion unremitted funds from 2014 to 2019 and also asked them to reappear before the Committee on the 3rd of March with their revenue profile and remittances from 2010.
The two agencies appeared before the Committee investigating remittances of revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund by agencies of government as a way of ensuring that the government gets the required money to fund the 2020 budget.
He told the NIS boss that “If we work with the records from the office of the Accountant General of the federation, you have N11.2 billion to pay to the CRF. But we want you to go and reconcile your records with the Accountant General’s office. This figure is just for 2018 and 2019 only.
“We also want to know how many Nigerians were issued passport even though you put the figure at 1.22 million on the average annually. We will have to ask you to come back and bring the relevant document to us.
“We are not witch hunting anybody here. Your agency and others are responsible for the generating the revenue that is used to fund the budget and what we are interested in here is how to fund the budget”.
The Comptroller General of Immigration, Babandede however refused to agree that his agency was indebted to the government, querying why the Accountant General’s office never issued them with any audit query.
He said “we have brought our documents before you as requested. If you need more documents, you ask us and we will make them available to you. The onus of proof whether the documents are correct or not rest with you”
Also, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, Ibrahim Babashehu Ahmed who stood in for the Chief Executive of the agency could not explain why the exact revenue accruing to the government was not remitted.
He told the committee that in 2014, out of the N144 million due to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, only N21 million was remitted leaving a balance of N123 million, while the agency remitted N22.4 million out of the N182 million due to the CRF in 2015.
Ahmed could not go further with his presentation when the committee started drawng his attention to the various infractions committed by the agency in with holding government revenue.
Chairman of the Committee told him that the Registrar of the Council for the Regulation of Engineers in Nigeria (COREN) voluntarily appeared before the committee and informed them that when he took over the agency, he discovered that they were indebted to the government and started paying the debt.
“They have paid N100 million leaving a balance of N75 million. They just told me that they can pay an addition N50 million of that money into the CRF by tomorrow, Wednesday. At least, they are paying.”