By Musa Baba Adamu
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has debunked allegations of unremitted 80% of operational surpluses into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), levelled against it on Wednesday by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos West).
Senator Adeola had at an interactive session his Committee had with revenue generating agencies, pointedly accused the CBN of not remitting its operational surpluses within the last five years.
In making the allegation, he said “Nigeria wouldn’t have been having problem of inadequate revenue to fund its annual budget if revenue generating agencies, were remitting 80% of their operational surpluses into the CRF as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“Specifically, the Central Bank of Nigeria which has yearly budget of N2.3trillion , has not remitted any revenue from its operational surpluses into the Consolidated Revenue Fund within the last five years”.
But in swift reaction, the Deputy Governor of CBN in charge of Economic Policy, Dr Kingsley Obiora, debunked the allegation by declaring that 80% of the Apex bank’s operational surpluses, have always been remitted to the CRF on yearly basis.
The remittance he explained, is done in line with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and not that of the CBN Act which stipulates 75% remittance.
Obiora who represented the Governor, Godwin Emefiele said “With all due respect to the Senate and in particular, this committee, the CBN as a law abiding government agency, had not at anytime, defaulted in the remittance of its operational surpluses.
“We do this on a yearly basis as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act despite the fact that the CBN Act, requires us to remit 75% only.
“The Ministry of Finance, the office of Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor General of the Federation and other relevant agencies, can testify at any time that CBN is their friend as far as remittance of such revenue is concerned”, he said.
Attempts by the committee chairman to drag the Director General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, to confirm or dispute the claims of the CBN proved abortive, as Akabueze said verification to that effect will be determined by an ongoing process.
He however directed the CBN to produce documentary evidence of its remittances within the last five years unfailingly Friday this week.