Threatens to sanction erring MDAs, banks
House of Representatives, yesterday, began investigations into alleged missing N1.2 trillion not paid into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Federal Government by some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.
The affected institutions were alleged to have stashed the money in commercial banks, even as the lawmakers vowed to penalise any office or bank that fails to cooperate with recovery of the funds.
At the inauguration of an adhoc committee on ‘Unclaimed Funds in Nigerian Commercial Banks and Infractions by Central Bank of Nigeria’, the lawmakers noted that unspent funds of government are not supposed to be in the hands of individuals for too long.
A lawmaker from Plateau State, Dachun Baggus, had in the past moved a motion during plenary to this effect.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, constituted the committee, which has Uyime Idem from Akwa Ibom State as chairman. Gbajabiamila, who was represented by Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, said the essence of the assignment was to expose corruption in the affected offices, with a view to recovering the funds and improving revenue for government.
Idem said the exercise became imperative as the nation’s budget continues to grow viz-a-viz Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in recent years and has exceeded the three per cent benchmark in the last three years, with the highest being in 2021 at 3.67 per cent, while that of 2020 was 3.03 per cent.
He said: “These deficits are being financed by Domestic and Foreign Loans, which are no longer sustainable as the debts are mounting in the face of our dwindling resources. And on the other hand, our nation is faced with multi-faceted challenges ranging from insecurity, high rate of unemployment and hyperinflation.
“The core objective of this committee’s assignment is to recover any hanging funds that are currently in the hands of unauthorised persons/individuals and corporate bodies.”
He added: “The committee is to ascertain the level of compliance with the TSA policy by the MDAs, since its commencement in December 2015 and as well review the long-outstanding Advance Payment Guarantees (APGs) issued on Federal Government projects, and money held because of failed and unexecuted contracts.
“The recovery of a substantial part of these hanging funds will assist the Federal Government in improving budget funding and consequently a reduction in budget deficit. It will also settle some pressing domestic debts and increase the aggregate money in circulation with multiplier effects on the masses and the economy.”