The Senate announced yesterday that it was considering mop up of N2trillion from revenue generating agencies to fund the budget deficit.
The chairman of the Joint Senate Committee on Finance and National Planning, Senator Solomon Adeola, stated this yesterday at the public hearing on the 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
He said all the revenue generating agencies must be ready for self-funding or be ready to remit revenues fully into the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account.
Adeola (APC Lagos West) said, “Out of N5 trillion budget deficit we are looking for, the revenue generating agencies alone will contribute N2 trillion. So, if we can pull this N2trillion off, we will be left with N3trillion.”
The panel accused the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of concealing vital information on revenues collected on behalf of the federal government.
It also faulted reports by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and asked it to return today for details of its expenditure and revenue generated for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
The panel told the commission to be ready for sacrifices.
“We don’t have the luxury of funds to toy with; for now your capital will go off, while you take personnel and overhead cost.”
Also, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, (APC Ondo Central) pointed out that civil servants were capitalising on loopholes in the budget system to take advantage of the government.
The minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, however opposed the suggestion that money should be mopped up from aviation agencies and the Bilateral Air Service Agreement to fund the budget.
He said, “On the question regarding challenging times and whether the overhead of the agencies will be mopped up to fund the national budget, I don’t think so. I don’t think so because of the nature of both the ministry and its agencies and what is facing us.
“Take for example the COVID-19 pandemic; we are the greatest hit sector. At the time we started implementing our agenda, the Aviation Road Map, we gradually became the second fastest growing sector. Just before COVID-19, we became the fastest growing sector in the Nigerian economy.
“But unfortunately, COVID-19 came and we shut down. With this COVID-19, I think until the fourth quarter of 2021 and perhaps first quarter of 2022, we will continue to see sharp decline in passengers and that is directly proportional to the revenue that we collect because people’s confidence has to be raised.
“If the government is not able to fund us because of the challenge of income, then the government should not take the little that we have.”
The federal government had while announcing that it proposes to spend the sum of N12.658 trillion in 2021, informed that the budget is to be financed by a revenue estimate of N7.498 trillion, leaving a deficit of N5.160 trillion.