N910BN MDAs SHORT-TERM LOANS: CACOL CALLS FOR URGENT RECOVERY
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on the Accountant-General of the federation to urgently recover short-term loans it advanced federal ministries, departments and agencies from the Special Funds Accounts totaling N910 billion.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “We received the news that the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, which scrutinized the 2017 report of the Auditor General for the Federation discovered the anomaly. According to the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), query, loans and debts arising from Special Funds Accounts totaling N910,039,557,742 showed that the balances remained unpaid throughout the year even when they were meant to be short term”.
“It should be noted that the Committee observed that there was a continuous abuse of the Special Funds by the Executive arm of government as the withdrawals were continually made for political expediency outside the purpose which the funds were meant for. The Senate therefore ordered that all outstanding loans should be recovered by the Accountant General of the Federation and evidence of recovery presented to the Auditor General and Senate Public Accounts Committee within 60 days”.
The anti-corruption Czar opined that “It is disheartening and demoralizing how public funds are being mismanaged by the management of most of the MDAs. Inasmuch as we are not against giving out such loans based on the exigencies of the time and paucity of funds that may arise occasionally, the office of the Accountant General ought to have scrutinized the purpose for which these short term loans were sought before giving it out to the MDAs concern. There ought to be concrete arrangements for repayment of the loans and penalties that payment default would attract ought to be made crystal clear for the MDAs concern to know before giving them these loans. In case of default, the loans ought to be deducted from the appropriation to the MDA concerned in the following year’s budget.
“As we have said earlier, we have observed that there have not been serious punishment for impunities like this hence civil servants and public officials who were supposed to hold their position in trust for the members of the public and the generality of Nigerians engaged in financial recklessness knowing fully well that there will not be backlash for their actions. This trend is not peculiar to the MDAs only, as both the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) and other existing financial laws are either inadequate or contradictory in addressing modern challenges posed by corruption in the country”.
The CACOL Boss further enthused, “We want to commend the Senate Public Accounts Committee for investigating the whereabouts of this huge sum of money and for giving a marching order that all outstanding loans should be recovered by the Accountant General of the Federation and evidence of recovery presented to the Auditor General and Senate Public Accounts Committee within 60 days. We would also want them to go beyond this order and ensure that all MDAs that defaulted in paying back these loans are published, the amount being owed should also be deducted from their next appropriation and their management should be made to face the full wrath of the law in order to serve as deterrent for others.”
CACOL CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT TINUBU, CAUTIONS HIM ON FUEL SUBSIDY REMOVAL
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has congratulated the incoming President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was sworn in as the 16th President of the country. The Anti-Corruption organization however cautioned the President over his recent decision to stop fuel subsidy regime in the country.
In a release issued by CACOL’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by the anti-corruption organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “We do not agree with Mr. President that fuel subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources rather we want to align ourselves with the school of thought that believes that subsidy should not be removed from fuel, it doesn’t matter who uses fuel. Those buying Luxury items like expensive cars/vehicles should be made to pay more at the point of registering their cars and renewing their vehicle papers based on the cost and the age of the vehicle. These sets of people are the ones using petroleum products more. Same policy should apply to those using expensive or high capacity generators who should be made to also register them with the government. All the luxury goods should attract higher taxes and rates, these will generate the needed income that can serve as alternative to the subsidy the president is trying to remove.“
We at CACOL believe that our people especially the middle class and those occupying the lower rung of the social strata would be forced to face the following consequences of fuel subsidy regime removal:
General increase in the prices of fuel and other related products.
General increase in the cost of transportation.
General devaluation of the commanding power of wages
Lowering of general living standards.
The decision will foist on the people multiple economic discomforts pitiably on the same people who are just coming out of the bad effects of crashing state revenues and variants of poverties of material well-being, the difficulties associated with the recent unavailability of petrol, the hard pains suffered from the lack of cash, resulting from the seemingly deliberate Emefiele driven fiscal policy and failed currency redesign
“We would like to advise that Mr. President should not come in to cause agony and increase the level of misery of the people most of whom are already living below the poverty line and who are also looking up to him to proffer solutions to the myriads of problems facing the country. Moreover, the promise of renewed hope would have been eroded if the President carries out his planned suspension of the fuel subsidy regime removal. Instead of removing the subsidy on micro products like fuel, he should rather extend subsidy to other products like foodstuff, the government should create food banks and produce marketing boards to receive all what farmers especially and other food producers harvested from their farms and buy at profitable rates and sell back to the masses at subsidies rates.
He should also ensure that another way of compensating the poor for the crimes of the rich is to ensure that public education system is completely free from the nursery level to first degree level and other levels of education (from Masters’ to Ph.D level) should be generally available to those who can afford it.
We are particularly disappointed that Mr. President carried out his threat to remove fuel subsidy without adequate consultations with the various stakeholders and without considering the implications of the decision on the small scale enterprises and majority of our people who have been impoverished by the misgovernance imposed upon them by successive governments in the past.
The CACOL Boss added, “We would like to use this medium to call on the President to declare his assets, because he has come to equity and he should be seen to have come with clean hands. We want to know his assets and liabilities, and he should make it open to the generality of Nigerians. We are making this demand because we want him to run an open and participatory government and a government that is not shrouded in secrecy. He should also appoint people of competence and impeccable character so that there would be ‘right pegs in right holes’ so that at the end of the day, those of us who have reposed some level of confidence in him would know the indices and indicators we can use to appraise his government, whether to praise it or condemn it.”
“That we seem to be supporting his ascendancy doesn’t mean that when things are commendable we will not commend it and when they are condemnable we will actually condemn whatever misstep we identified. We would also want him to make the implementation of his campaign promises to be SMART so that we may know the parameters to access his performance in office. ”