The House of Representatives’ Public Accounts Committee, has summoned the heads of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Nigeria Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (NOGFZA), as well as the Standard organization of Nigeria (SON) over the loss of Billion’s of naira in revenue from companies operating in the oil free zones as contained in audit queries issued by the office of the Auditor General for the Federation.
The Committee also directed its clerk to publish the said audit queries from the office against defaulting agencies in three national dailies for the public, as well as the President to see.
The committee had hinged its rulings on the reports of the Auditor General for the Federation detailing several infractions by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies submitted to it for legislative action.
The committee chairman, Mr Oluwole Oke, at the resumed investigation of the MDAs, lamented the attitude of the relevant government agencies who he said abdicated their statutory responsibilities of generating revenue for government whilst Nigeria goes cap-in-hand looking for loans from foreign countries and creditors to finance the nation’s annual budgets
Mr Oke said the purpose of the publication was to enable Nigerians and President Muhammadu Buhari to see and know those agencies sabotaging government’s efforts to make life better for the citizenry.
The lawmaker lamented that a situation where the country keeps suffering the loss of revenue through non issuance of receipts for payments made to Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, Fraudulent practices on issuance of Certificates of Acceptance on Capital Allowances by the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Trade and Industry was unfortunate and unacceptable.
“We have invited all the regulators. Federal Ministry of Industry, Oil and Gas Free zone Authority, Onne, Standard Organisation of Nigerian and they are supposed to appear today. But they are not here. All the companies listed by the regulators, some of them are here, but the regulators are not here. From the evidences presented by these companies, we discovered that a company’s capital allowances rose from N4 billion to N33 billion within a year and they brought the certificate here for us to see. We called ministry of Industry to come and confirm whether they issued the certificate or not. If you issued a certificate for a foreign asset, an asset acquired outside the country, at least, there will be import duty, there will be receipt. Ministry of Industry, did you inspect the asset before you issued certificate of N33 billion? Those are the questions we are asking ministry of industry to come and answer. They have refused to come.
He added that while the committee is not out to witch-hunt anyone or agency, it’s however interested in finding out if the enabling laws are no longer active and obsolete, so that the Parliament can enact new ones to enhance performance and economic growth.
Oke also ruled that the Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises must appear in person to answer queries issued against his agency, just as he is expected to appear with the Certificate of Acceptance for Capital Allowance.