The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) and Transparency International Nigeria, have expressed worry over the rate at which the Presidency sends requests to the National Assembly for approval for loan borrowing despite the huge amount of resources wasted by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
This was made known at a press briefing by CISLAC in Abuja.
The Civil Society organization is calling on the legislators not to entertain any more loan request by the Executive until there is a proper accountability and usage of previous loans received.
According to CISLAC, sometimes in April, this year, the Senate approved the sum of N55 billion for priority projects, while the House of Representatives also approved the sum of $22.7 billion that was rejected the previous year. The later was said to finance key infrastructures in the country.
They noted that, time and again, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders have cal|ed for accountability and transparency in the management and utilization of recovered funds, yet the story remains the same as recovered loots are re-looted and even alleged borrowed funds are diverted into personal pockets.
“We therefore call on the leadership of National Assembly to restrain from further approval of borrowing and mandate the Executive to recover misappropriated, mis-managed and looted funds”, because as they collect these loots, it is not accounted for. No register to show how much was received and how much each agency is collecting.
CISLAC also noted that in 2018, findings from a series of audits of the oil and gas sector carried out by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) showed that Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its upstream arm, NPDC, had failed to remit $21.778 billion and N316.074 billion to the Federation Account. These were amounts due from three main sources: Federation assets divested to NPDC and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company’s (NPDC) legacy liabilities; payments for domestic crude allocation to NNPC; and dividends from investment in Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) paid to but withheld by the NNPC.
CISLAC also noted that the Auditor-General re-affirmed that as at June 30, 2019, 160 agencies defaulted in the submission of audited accounts for 2016; 265 agencies defaulted in submission of audited accounts for 2017; while 11 agencies had never submitted any financial statements since inception.
In 2019, the former Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Tunde Fowler, noted that Nigeria loses about $15bn (N5.37tn at N358/dollar) to tax evasion annually.
In the past five years the FederaI-collectible tax projections gap has amounted to N7.189 trillion.
According to the Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, the embattled acting Economic Financial Crime Commission chairman was alleged to have declared N539 billion as recovered funds instead of N504billion as earlier claimed, amongst other allegations.
“It is very important for the legislative arm to do something because decent Nigerians are finding it difficult to survive while money is being looted and circulated among a few individuals.