By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Senator representing Kogi West in the Senate, Dino Melaye, yesterday alleged that there is a N2.2trillion idling in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which is supposed to be remitted into the federation account by few government agencies.
Melaye made this allegation when making his contribution on the inability of the government ministries, departments and agencies to defend their 2018 budget, where he accused the executive arm of government of not being sincere.
He said the fund included N1.4 trillion realised through the stamp duty which is domiciled in the CBN, instead of being remitted according to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the government.
He said also that there is another over one N1trillion realised through lottery services, which he claimed was also domiciled in the CBN rather than being remitted into the federation account.
Speaking further, he said there is another N300 billion naira which the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should have remitted to the federation accounts since 2016 but the fund remains domiciled in the CBN despite the TSA policy of the government.
He said there is no correlation between the 2017 budget and that of 2018, adding that haven gone through the budget, he realised that it is impossible for the executive to know as at the time the budget was been put together, which project will be completed talkless of rolling them over.
“There is no correlation or relationship between the 2017 and the 2018 budget. I realised that it was impossible for the executive to know as at the time the budget was been put together, which project will be completed talkless of rolling them over.
“That is to say the budget we received was a boji boji budget. We cannot live in deception and expect prosperity. There is an outstanding of 1.4 trillion naira stamp duty that has accumulated with the CBN that has not been remitted into the federation account”, he said.
While stressing the need to strengthen the relevant government agencies to forestall these anomalies, Melaye said “We need to strengthen the capacity of our treasury, we need to empower and strengthen the Office of the Accountant General of the federation to collect accruable revenue from all MDAs so that there will be money for implementation of our budgets.
“In 2016, NNPC was supposed to pay over 300 billion as IGR into the federation account, but no kobo was paid and no kobo has been paid in 2017. And all these revenues are hanging and we say we are fighting corruption.
“It is time for the senate to ask these agencies of government to remit such monies, why are we borrowing when we have monies scattered in the MDAs. The issue of discussing 2018 budget does not arise. We must make sure that 2017 budget is properly implemented”, he said.
He therefore urged his colleagues to ensure that and make the budget that of the poor masses that is acceptable to the downtrodden in the society and not elitist as it wax designed by the executive to be from inception.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, while responding said “by now 2017 budget should have been implemented either 40 or 60 per cnet but this has not been the case. This makes it very difficult for us, we cannot turn into magicians.
“I continue to appeal that you work within what you have and let us do our best to ensure that we have a budget that is in the interest of Nigerians. The executive on their part need to sit up and not just rhetorics, but really get down to work.
“If 2017 budget items are not rolled over to 2018 that is a disaster. It means that most of them are misrepresenting the actual grounds to the leadership of the executive. If the documents are not showing that then that is a carious serious problem. Let the executive show some seriousness toward the budget excersise”, he said.