The Federal Government has ordered the probe of past heads of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), over what it called poor remittances in the past.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this development while briefing State House correspondents about the performance of some government agencies after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
Adeosun also stated that JAMB for the first time remitted N5billion to the coffers of the federal government with a balance of N3 billion still to be remitted as compared to maximum N3million per annum remitted in the past.
The Daily Times recalls that JAMB had in July this year announced the remittance of N5billion to the coffers of Federal Government which happens to be the highest so far in the last 40 years of its existence.
Adeosun further disclosed another bombshell when he said that NIMASA remitted N4.95billion in 2015 to the nation’s purse while the same agency remitted staggering N24billion in 2016.
The minister observed that the disparity in the remittances of the two agencies in the past and present necessitated the decision of the federal government to order probe of all previous heads of the two agencies.
Adeosun said the discovery had led to a directive from the federal government to summon all past heads of JAMB to explain where past revenues of the agency had been diverted to, saying that the current generation by the examination body is not prompted by increase in JAMB fees as the fees remain the same.
The minister also disclosed that other agencies with similar discrepancies in their revenue remittances will be probed.
Adeosun said: “The highest amount that JAMB has ever remitted to the consolidated revenue fund before this management was N3million. This year so far they have done N5billion and the minister of education reported that they have additional N3billion that they are ready to remit which will take this year’s figure alone to N8billion.
“Now they have not increased their charges nor their fees. So the question that Council members were asking was that where were all these monies before? So the directive was given that we must called those who were the heads of those agencies and similar ones to account and that is what we intend to do.
“It is similar stories with other agencies and these are the leakages which we are now blocking. These are the monies in the consolidated fund that is now being applied in the projects that really needs to get the economy moving. These are the monies that are missing that have led us to the position we are in. It is the grandest looting that this administration has come in to address.”
The minister also said besides JAMB, the Council discussed progress being recorded in the revenue generation of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) that is “recording significant progress.”
She also said that, “We want to look into those agencies, the past management of those agencies and see where those revenues were leaking and to encourage those agencies to continue with efficiencies.”
Adeosun also debunked beliefs that Nigeria exited recession because disruption of oil installations in the Niger Delta had stopped and oil production volume has consequently increased, saying the exit was not driven by increase in oil revenues only but also by investment in infrastructure such as road construction which she said facilitated the growth in agriculture and industry.
Adeosun also said the council approved a memo she presented which harped on the necessity of Nigeria to join African Trade Insurance Agency to provide risk guarantee for investment coming into Nigeria as well as export from the country.
She said joining the agency would provide risk guarantee, sovereign guarantee and risk mitigation, disclosing that many African countries are already members of the agency.
Adeosun said, “FEC approved for Nigeria to rejoin the African Trade Insurance Agency. This is an agency that is out to provide risk guarantee for private investors coming into Nigeria as well as exporters from Nigeria.
“It will provide risk guarantees so instead of projects asking for sovereign guarantees, we will be able to provide that risk mitigation through the African Trade Insurance Agency. Many other countries are already members so Nigeria will be also joining.
“This agency has an A rating international and is able to guarantee long term projects. So what we see as a result of this is that there will be increased level of investments particularly PPP where every often the investors want some guarantee from the government, instead the government issuing sovereign guarantee directly, this agency will step in and issue it. It is very similar to MIGA which Multi-lateral Insurance Guarantee Agency that is owned by the IFC.”
Adeosun also said the council reviewed the recent exit from recession and described it as an indication that the government is moving in the right direction.
According to her, the fiscal initiatives being pursued by the government include fiscal consolidation and cost efficiency, adding that the integrated payroll system being implemented by the government has continued to show contraction which she said would be continued.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, also said FEC was encouraged by the economic growth rate of 0.55 per cent which aided Nigeria’s exit from recession.
According to him, it was the first time that the economy was growing after five quarters while the entire industry sector on the other hand was growing for the first time in nine quarters.
He, however, added that the growth was small and hence, not a growth that could impact the economy positively but only showed that the economy was moving in the right direction, adding that the government would continue to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) with the target growth of 3.5 per cent.