The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has warned the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other agencies against refusing to appear before it to defend their revenue and expenditure profiles as contained in the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
The committee gave the warning on Tuesday during its interactive session on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework with some government departments.
Chairman of the Committee, James Faleke (APC, Lagos), said NIMASA, Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), National Lottery Trust Fund, National Inland Waterways Authority and others had stayed away from the session despite invitations extended to them.
“Some agencies are avoiding to come and present their papers before us, I want to make it abundantly clear that any agency of government that refuses to appear before – and defend the revenue profile and expenditure of his/her agency will be properly taken care of by the House.”
The ongoing interactive session is looking at the revenue and expenditure of some revenue-generating agencies and ministries, as the committee looks to bridge the budget deficit gap in the projected 2022 budget.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on NIMASA; NIMASA, this is the second time we are making this announcement. You must bring your documents and defend your revenue before this committee.
“FAAN is supposed to come here tomorrow. There will be no room for postponements. They must come in and defend the sources of their income. National Lottery Trust Fund, they must come in and defend the income they have received and the way they are managing that fund. NDIC is supposed to appear before us today, we are yet to see them. Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Inland Water Way Authority (NIWA), you must appear before Thursday. Please do not allow us to take decisions that will not be palatable to the agencies.”
Last year, President Buhari invoked national security threat as the justification to go above the deficit to GDP threshold as provided in the Fiscal Responsibility Act for the 2021 budget. The Act provides that the deficit to GDP shall not be more than three per cent.
Section 12(2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act allows the president to go above the ceiling “if in his opinion, there is a clear and present threat to national security or sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
The deficit in the 2022 budget as projected by MTEF stands at N5.62 trillion (3.2%) from the N5.6 trillion in the 2021 budget.
Faleke has said the committee will remove frivolous capital expenditure in revenue generating MDAs, to free surplus for the consolidated revenue account.