RMAFC seeks greater collaboration with EFCC

Barbara Bako, Abuja.

In order to mitigate revenue leakages and ensure that lost or unremitted funds are recovered and deposited into the proper government coffers, Muhammad Bello Shehu, the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), has called for increased cooperation with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A statement from the RAMFC’s Head of Information and Public Relations, Maryam Yusuf, states that the call was placed by the Chairman during a courtesy visit to Mr. Ola Olukoyede, the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, at his Abuja office.

Shehu said,” We are calling on EFCC for more collaboration, not only in the area of enforcement but also intelligence gathering and data sharing with respect to government revenue from any source. “

He further said, “The collaboration with your organisatio n in the area of enforcement served as an impetus to the success recorded in our recovery exercise. It is therefore important to bring to the fore that the collaboration between RMAFC and EFCC is crucial in addressing the challenges of unremitted revenue to the Federation Account.”

Shehu also asked the EFCC for help in developing the RMAFC staff’s capabilities, particularly in the field of forensic investigation.

The chairman revealed that his organisation had noticed that numerous revenue-generating agencies that the office of the Accountant General of the Federation had classified as Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) were permitted to generate revenue, spend it, and then send the remaining amount as operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

This, according to him, is not known to the Constitution as all Agencies are constitutionally mandated to remit the revenues generated in gross to the Federation Account as prescribed in section 162 (1) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, which states that the Federation shall maintain a special account to be called, ” The Federation Account” into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the Personnel of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry or Department of Government charged with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Recalling the cooperation between RMAFC and EFCC in 2013, the Chairman mentioned that N74 billion (seventy four billion naira) in unremitted and underremitted revenues, collected or withheld from the third party by the banks, were transferred to the Federation Account.

He also revealed that, with Mr. President’s approval, the RMAFC hired a second group of consultants in 2021 to work in tandem with the EFCC and broadened the scope of recovery to include the public sector and the oil and gas sector for the period of 2016 to 2019.

The exercise according to him has so far recovered over N216 Billion (Two hundred and sixteen Billion Naira) to the appropriate government coffers and it is still going on.

Shehu stated that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission is one of the fourteen (14) Executive Bodies created by S. 153 (1) (n) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to ensure the effective and efficient management of the nation’s revenue.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the EFCC Mr. Ola Olukoyede stressed the need for enhanced collaboration between the two organisations to ensure proper management of government revenue.

He emphasized that the country can only move forward when there is transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business.

He urged RMAFC to look into the loopholes in the revenue generation and mobilisation system that allows for leakages and emphasized the need for a stakeholder meeting to address the issue.

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The EFCC boss expressed optimism that Nigeria will be better if the right steps are taken.

He said, “There are things we have been able to do together within the scopes of our mandate and your mandate as well. Transparency and accountability should be embedded in our public life as a nation. That’s the only way we can move forward.”

He further said, “One of the things the two agencies are supposed to focus on more now besides recoveries is our systems. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with us as Nigerians but with the system that we run here, if you bring in the people that make things work in their own countries to our system here, they would be corrupt. There is an entrenched system here that encourages people to steal, and it would appear as if nothing would happen. Let’s look at our system of revenue generation, the system that allows leakages in mobilisation and appropriation of funds. If we don’t look at the system, we will continue to chase shadows.”

“Let’s get our priorities right. I see no reason why a ministry that has no business with project execution would be awarding contracts. We should look at these areas and scale up our surveillance. In all of these let’s support the President in all his efforts to reposition this country. He relies on you and me and all the people he has put in a position of trust and relations responsibility.” He added.