The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday directed recovery of N526 billion and $21 billion under-remittance to Federation account by Government’s revenue generating agencies.

Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He was with Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, Osun State Governor, Rauf Aragbesola and Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma.

He said “KPMG presented the report of the Revenue Generating agencies concluding that the sum of N526 billion and $21 billion was underpaid to the Federation account. NEC Ad-hoc committee, which was chaired by me, Gombe State Governor with members including Governors of Edo, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna and Lagos.

“And the Finance Minister recommended refund of the amount underpaid.

“Council adopted the presentations and reports of the KPMG and the recommendations of its Ad-hoc Committee including a resolution to identify instances where there appears to have been criminal infringements and forward such to the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Legal Committee of the National Economic Council for further action.

“Council resolved to pursue strengthening of the NNPC governance structure to prevent further recurrence of such gross under-remittance by the NNPC and other RGAs,” Dankwabo said.

According to him, a sub committee would be set up to look into the details of the infringement in order to determine those that would be prosecuted by the Attorney General.

While explaining that the audit report covered 2010 to June 2015, the Governor said that the audit will be extended to 2017.

He added “The audit was for the revenue generating agencies that have paid into the Federation account and those that paid for federal government agencies.

“We are talking about federation account because those that paid by law to federal government are the responsibility of the federal government. So all the entities in the budget that are supposed to pay revenues into government coffers were checked from 2010 to June 2015, that was the cadre.

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“One of the resolutions of NEC today is to extend the audit to June 2017. So the audit will continue for the remaining agencies.”

Listing some of the affected agencies, he said “NNPC, NPDC, DPR, Customs, Federal Internal Revenue Services, NPA, and Maritime Authorities.”

“All the revenue generating agencies and the details of the infringement are contained in the report. Because it is voluminous report there are a lot of items that are there.

“The most important decision that was taken is that a sub-committee will be set up which will be an arm of the legal committee of NEC that will go into details of these kinds of infringements and make sure that those issues that are criminal and require prosecution will be handled by office of the Attorney General of the Federation.”

Asked if the Council will not commend agencies that remitted 100 percent to Federation account, Dankwabo said ” to say that an audit is an exception report, it’s not an okay report. So we are not looking for a company that is doing well.”

“Accountability does not mean you are doing well, the mirror is very big and depending on how you look at the mirror that is how you will see yourself.

“So it is an exception report, we are not looking at the good boys, we were looking for exceptions. And to go further, it is forensic audit, detailing this kind of short comings,” he said

On NEC’s discussion on the question of states to determine how much is paid as subsidy by government and not NNPC, Yari said, “Yes, the item was brought up for discussion but it was referred back to the sub-committee remittances in which I’m chair. We are doing the nitty, gritty with NNPC in terms of remittances.

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“Don’t forget that the reason we got it right in 2016 on the NNPC side is because the oil prices were too low. It was easy for everyone to get fuel into the country and then make its profit.

“So, when the price started jacking up then the marketers started adjusting back because they need to have a template of cost recovery and how they are going to make up the difference from the pump price to the landing cost of what they are importing.

“Our problem is the volume, the quantity of consumption which is not acceptable. Working with the governors so many decisions were taken but by next month, we are going to adopt that position either for the governors to take responsibility for the subsidy in their states based on the consumption or we look at other ways. For instance, if you say we paid N800 billion subsidy, you will ask who are we paying the subsidy to? And if you look at infrastructure development and capital programme of the federal government, it is about N1.1 trillion, almost 70 percent of what you are spending developing the economy.

“If there is no infrastructure development then you cannot talk about development of the economy. N800 billion is a huge amount that we must look at it, who is benefiting from it. So we are coming up with a strategy, we are going to meet in the month of May and June. By next meeting, we will definitely come up with a position of the government at both level of volume of what is being brought into the country and what the state and federal government collaborate to check,” he said.

He said that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment briefed the Council on Nigeria’s Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council in collaboration with the Nigerian Communication Commission.

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He said “The briefing today was to present the eight (8) initiatives and recommendations from the Industrial Council that requires State Governments intervention.

“The key issues requiring the State Government’s intervention are Improving broadband penetration in the country, Resolving multiple taxation, Facilitating access to land, Providing security for investment, Standardising regulatory requirements, Facilitating integrated business linkage, Collaborating on project development and Providing shared facilities.

Stressing that the Advisory Council requested NEC to approve the proposals to address the bottlenecks identified in order to drive the Industrialisation agenda, he said that the Council decision resolved that the Nigeria Communication Commission go and outline its plans and communicate same to the State Governors in the next meeting.

He said that the Industrial Council recognises that there is need for collaboration between the Federal Government (FG), State and Local Government to drive the industrialisation agenda.

Aragbesola said that the Council commended the courage of the President and Vice President as Chair of Council in ensuring the probe of Federal Government Agencies and completing the audit report as this promote transparency and the anti-corruption efforts of the Administration.

Udoma disclosed that he briefed the Council on the just concluded Economic Recovery and Growth Plan Focus labs.

Report on the Excess Crude Account (ECA) presented by Minister of Finance to Council, according to Talking Point released at the end of the meeting, disclosed that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as at May 14, 2018 stands at $ 1,830, 682, 945.30

It added “Honourable Minister of Finance reported to Council that the current balance in the Stabilization Account as at May 14, 2018 stands at N 15, 725,456,963.83

“Honourable Minister of Finance reported to the Council that the current balance in the Natural Resources Development Fund as at May 14, 2018 stands at N116, 104,644,763.39.”