The continued shortfall in Nigeria’s revenue generation has again attracted the attention of members of the House of Representatives with the lawmakers last week setting in motion moves towards unearthing the reasons behind the trend.
Daily Trust recalls that there have been cries by economic experts on the revenue shortfall in the country. The House had sometime in July received a report of its committee on finance led by Rep Abdulmumin Jibrin (PDP, Kano) which showed that between January and May this year, the country recorded a revenue shortfall of N7.9 billion.
This, among other reasons prompted the House to institute an investigation into the matter.
The House therefore mandated its committees on finance and that of appropriation to summon finance minister and heads of other revenue generating agencies for explanation.
During debate on the motion sponsored by Rep Bimbo Daramola (APC, Ekiti) members expressed reservations over recent media comments by the finance minister as to the healthy nature of Nigeria’s economy, at a time some states owed their workers’ salaries for three months.
Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was recently reported to have said that the country’s economy is in a healthy state, informing that there was no cause for alarm. But the lawmakers were still sceptical with such statements.
Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal while referring the matter to the two committees mandated them to conduct public hearing about the concern, while the minister and heads of the agencies will be invited to give account of the present state of the country’s economy.
Rep Daramola whose motion came under matters of urgent national importance, lamented the inability of some states of the federation to meet up their statutory responsibilities as a result of the hiccups in the release of the monthly federal allocations to them.
He informed the House that even as the current international oil price remains at a consistent $105 per barrel, which is far above the set $79 per barrel in the 2013 appropriation by the National Assembly, the country surprisingly continues to record shortfalls in its daily revenue generation.
Members, however noted that with the 2.3 million barrel per day production, the country ought not to be experiencing such partial releases of state allocations that threaten the discharge of their statutory functions.
Rep Ibrahim Shehu Gusau (APC, Zamfara) expressed worry that during the ICT committee’s oversight visit to the communication ministry earlier this month, the members discovered that only 28.3 percent was released to the ministry from its 2013 appropriated allocation by the federal government.
Information from Daily Trust was used in this report.