The Nigerian House of Representatives is to investigate an alleged non-remittance of over $5 billion about N1.53 trillion into the federation account by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
To that effect, the lawmakers have resolved to set up an adhoc committee to investigate the alleged infraction by the country’s apex bank, the Voice of Nigeria reports.
This decision followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Mrs Ayo Omidiran from Osun State accusing the CBN of flouting Sections 80 (1&2) and 81 of the constitution by failing to remit into government coffers revenue amounting to more than $5 billion.
Raising the motion, Mrs Omidiran expressed worry that even though funds from the federation account are distributed to the three tiers of government in line with the revenue sharing formula, revenue in flows into the federal account are prepared by the CBN instead of the Accountant General of the federation.
She said “The CBN takes advantage of this all important function of warehousing funds for the three tiers of government and preparation of the federation account statement, to manipulate the system by opening various accounts not known to the three tiers of government where funds are remitted, hidden, diverted and spent without authorisation”.
The lawmaker alleged that in 2006, the CBN opened various accounts with JP Morgan Chase Bank in New York, in which oil companies remit revenues for the federation, even as it maintains another account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
According to her, the CBN’s responsibility of receiving revenue in foreign currencies and converting same to Naira for the benefit of the three tiers of government, has led to substantial loss in the amounts remitted to the federation account.
Mrs Omidiran maintained that, “The substantial difference between the official exchange rate of Dollar to Naira and that at which bureau de change sells in the parallel market, whereas it’s the CBN that sells Dollars to the bureau de change operators on a weekly basis, as well as regulate the financial market.
In the recent past, Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC meetings have been postponed due to irregularities observed in the federation account by the States.
The CBN has violated Section 80 (2) of the 1999 Constitution by spending funds not appropriated by the National Assembly.
The CBN takes 0.25 per cent of all foreign denominated revenue as exchange commission for converting Dollars to Naira, but even after deducting this commission, the balance credited to the federation account at various times have been in negative difference (against expectations), running into billions of Naira per year”.
Mrs Omidiran added that the office of the Accountant General of the federation hasn’t reported these infractions of under-remittance of millions of Dollars and trillions of Naira into the federation account by the CBN.