by Jonathan Nda-Isaiah, Abuja
The federal government has ordered the probe of past heads of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), over what it called poor remittances in the past.
The minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this to State House Correspondents, yesterday ,after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
According to her, JAMB for the first time remitted N5 billion to the coffers of the government with a balance of N3 billion still to be remitted compared to maximum N3 million per annum remitted in the past.
She stated that the disparity in the remittances of the two agencies in the past and now necessitated the decision to probe all previous heads of the two agencies.
The minister also disclosed that other agencies with similar discrepancies in their revenue remittances will be probed.
She said, “Council discussed JAMB which recorded significant progress and NIMASA as well as others and gave us the charge to really go and look at these agencies, look in some cases the past management of those agencies and see where those agencies were leaking and to encourage agencies that haven’t done so to continue with efficiencies.
“So in summary the outlook is positive. We did some comparative analysis in June 2014 with oil price of $109 federation allocations, was N844 billion and in June 2017 it was down to N318 billion, just to give you an idea of how much income the country has really lost in the last few years.
“So we are adjusting very strongly and we believe if we continue with this trajectory not only will we stay permanently out of recession but more importantly we will have a positive and growing economy what works for all Nigerians which is our aim.
“The highest amount that JAMB has ever remitted to the consolidated revenue fund before this management was N3 million. This year so far they have done N5 billion and the minister of education reported that they have additional N3 billion that they are ready to remit which will take this year’s figure alone to N8 billion.
“Now they have not increased their charges nor their fees. So the question that Council members were asking was that where were all these monies before? So the directive was given that we must call those who were the heads of those agencies and similar ones to account and that is what we intend to do.
“Is a similar story with other agencies and these are the leakages which we are now blocking. These are the monies in the consolidated fund that is now being applied in the projects that really needs to get the economy moving. These are the money that are missing that has led us to the position we are in. It is the grandest looting that this administration action has come in to address.”
She also said FEC approved for Nigeria to rejoin the African Trade Insurance Agency adding that this is an agency that is out to provide risk guarantee for private investors coming into Nigeria as well as exporters from Nigeria.
According to her,it will provide risk guarantees instead of projects asking for sovereign guarantees.
“This agency has an A rating international and is able to guarantee long term projects. So what we see as a result of this is that there will be increased level of investments particularly PPP where every often the investors want some guarantee from the government, instead of the government issuing sovereign guarantee directly, this agency will step in and issue it. It is very similar to MIGA which is Multi-lateral Insurance Guarantee Agency that is owned by the IFC.
She also spoke on the fiscal conditions and outlook.
“As you know we are on the pathway of resetting the economy and adjusting permanently to a sort of lower oil pricing,” she noted.
She said the recent announcement of the exit from recession is an indicator that the country is moving in the right direction.
“We recognized that there is a lot to be done. I briefed the council on various fiscal initiatives that we are pursuing. These include continued fiscal consolidation and cost efficiency, driving cost savings in government, there is still a great need to do so.
“I have some progress report on the work we have done with payroll where we are still seeing contraction. Every time we put agencies into our automated payroll system we see contraction and we intend to continue with that.
“Secondly, we spoke about revenue generation, the VIDE Programme is ongoing and we are having quite a positive response in terms of tax compliance,” she said.