Crime

Senate moves to block financial leakages

The Senate has vowed to block revenue leakages in public finance as a way of consolidating funds for needed social and infrastructure development.

Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola gave the indication at the weekend during the inaugural meeting of the committee.

Adeola, according to a statement by his Media Adviser, Kayode Odunaro, in Abuja, said the move would also help in reducing annual budget deficits in the country.

He insisted that frequent lamentation of “no fund, no fund” for crucial capital projects in the budget would be minimised if the Committee carries out proper oversight work on all revenues generating agencies excluding the crude oil sales.

Adeola said: “As the nation approaches its 59th Independence Anniversary, we as a committee of the Senate are challenged to do the right thing to ensure that the government gets all its revenue for needed capital projects.

“We want to move away from the frequent complaints of “no fund, no fund”

“The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and many other government agencies generate huge sums of money but in most cases, the funds are not applied according to the Constitution and the Fiscal Responsibility Act,” he said.

Adeola urged the committee to brace up for the task ahead, which would require the invitation of all revenue-generating agencies to ascertain trends in their efforts over the years as a way of charting a new course and correcting anomalies where necessary.

He added that there is need to look into such revenue heads as the pre-shipment inspection and how it is applied among other revenue sources of government, beyond crude oil and taxes.

The Senator representing Lagos West said the finances of the country would improve significantly through blocking of leakages and seeking new revenues sources.

He said that the Committee would explore the possibility of an annual international finance lecture on current trends to be addressed by successful Ministers of Finance – both at home and abroad and other financial experts – as a way of addressing financial challenges in Nigeria.

He however told his members that the first task of the committee in the 9th National Assembly is to “quickly work on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper(2020-2023) referred to it by the Senate with a deadline preparatory to the presentation of the 2020 Appropriation Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly.”

Members of the 17-man committee in their contribution lauded the choice of Adeola as the chairman of the important committee of “baking the national cake’’ based on his cognate experience in similar positions at the Lagos State House of Assembly for 8 years and later as chairman of the House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee with oversight on all Federal Government agencies.

Members of the committee present at the meeting included Senator Teslim Folarin (APC, Oyo Central), Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South), Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central), Senator Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP, Ondo South), Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central) and Senator Abubakar Danladi Sankara (APC, Jigawa North West) among others.

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