From Fred Itua, Abuja
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has tackled senators over allegations of not remitted 80 percent of operational surpluses into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) within the last five years.
Chairman, Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola Olamilekan, who had at an interactive session with revenue generating agencies, accused the CBN of not remitting its operational surpluses within the last five years.
Adeola said: “Nigeria wouldn’t have been having problem of inadequate revenue to fund its annual budget if revenue generating agencies were remitting 80 percent of their operational surpluses into the CRF as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“Specifically, the CBN which has yearly budget of N2.3 trillion, has not remitted any revenue from its operational surpluses into the CRF within the last five years.”
In a swift reaction, CBN Deputy Governor in charge of Economic Policy, Kingsley Obiora, debunked the allegation by declaring that 80 percent of the apex bank’s operational surpluses have always been remitted to the CRF on yearly basis.
The remittance, he explained, is done in line with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and not that of the CBN Act which stipulates 75 percent remittance.
“With all due respect to the Senate and in particular, this committee, the CBN, as a law-abiding government agency, had not at anytime, defaulted in the remittance of its operational surpluses.
“We do this on yearly basis as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act despite the fact that the CBN Act, requires us to remit 75 percent only,” he said.
The chairman of the committee, however, directed the CBN to produce documentary evidence of its remittances within the last five years, unfailingly, on Friday.
He also told the apex bank to produce its audited account in the last five years as well as its position paper on monetary policy point of view on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper being considered by the committee.
“He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. Since you have declared before the whole world that CBN has been remitting 80 percent operational surpluses into CRF, it is necessary that we see the documentary evidence, as that would lay the controversy to rest. Let us have these documents latest by 11:00am on Friday,” he said.
Attempts by the committee chairman to drag the Director General of Budget Office, Benjamin Akabueze, to confirm or dispute the claims of the CBN proved abortive as Akabueze said verification to that effect will be determined by an ongoing process.