- Operating Surplus: Immigration Shuns FRC’s Invitation
The Nigeria Immigration Service has shunned an invitation from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission to appear before the commission in connection with the payment of operating surplus.
The Acting Chairman, FRC, Mr. Victor Muruako, confirmed this in a telephone interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Monday.
“We invited them but they did not come. They have not told us why they did not honour the invitation. We assume that something must have been responsible for their absence. We will give them another opportunity before we write our report,” he stated.
Muruako said there were important documents, including accounts, which the commission wanted the NIS to present in order to objectively determine what the service should pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund as operating surplus.
At the first appearance of the NIS before the FRC earlier in the year, the commission had questioned the Immigration officials for their failure to produce audited accounts since it was included among agencies to pay operating surpluses into the Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2013.
At the meeting between the FRC and the NIS team led by the Deputy Comptroller General, Finance and Accounts, Mr. Nurudeen Graham, Muruako expressed regrets that the service had not been complying with the FRC Act, 2007.
The FRC boss said despite series of correspondence between the commission and the Immigration Service, the NIS had consistently failed to produce its audited annual accounts.
He added that it was not enough for an agency to pay ‘something’ into the CRF in the name of operating surplus, adding that the production of audited accounts was the only basis to determine what an agency should pay to the coffers of government.
Muruako stated, “All government agencies, one way or the other, earn revenues. Since the NIS has come under the Act, we deem it necessary to engage you directly. If you recall, Mr. President, in his budget speech last year, cried out that independent revenue was very low. He told the parliament that independent revenue fell short by 30 per cent.
“The Immigration Service has yet to be compliant with the FRC Act. We have tried to engage you through correspondence since 2013. You are not even one of the agencies that was recently added to the list. We used to have 31 agencies, but since the coming of the new regime, the President had directed the Minister of Finance to increase it. We now have 122 agencies under the FRA.
“We may not have the need to borrow if the government brings all agencies to pay operating surpluses. Government cannot be crying about funds when the MDAs make money and do not remit to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”
Responding, Graham who represented the Comptroller General of the NIS, Mr. Mohammed Babandede, at the meeting said NIS had been paying operating surplus but regretted the inability of the organisation to present its annual report.