Finance bill: MDA officials to remit gross revenue into federation account or risk jail term

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The federal government has proposed plans to mandate ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to pay revenue generated in gross into the federation account or consolidated revenue fund (CRF).

This is contained in the draft copy of the 2021 finance bill transmitted to the national assembly.The bill, which scaled the second reading at the senate on Wednesday, will become a law after the national assembly passed it and assented by President Muhammadu Buhari.The bill is for tax collection in the 2022 fiscal year.

According to the bill, any public officer who violates the requirement may be liable on conviction to imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of N5 million or both.

The bill amended Section 4 of the Finance (Control and Management) Act. It specified that all taxes, levies, revenues, or other money raised or received by the federation, the federal government of Nigeria, or any agency of the federal government of Nigeria shall be paid in gross into the federation account, the consolidated revenue fund, or relevant special purpose account as provided by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the enabling act of the national assembly.

“Any person, being an officer of any Federal Ministry, Department or Agency or institution of Government to which this Section refers to, who fails to pay or authorize the payment of any part of any taxes, levies and other revenues collected on behalf of the Federation, Federal Government of Nigeria or any Ministry, Department, Agency or institution of the Federal Government of Nigeria to any person before the balance is paid into
the Federation Account or the Consolidated Revenue Fund, as the case may be, except as authorized by the National Assembly or Minister responsible for Finance, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to a fine of [five million naira] [N5,000,000] or to both such imprisonment and fine,” the bill states.

The finance bill also proposed the amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to enable the government to borrow for “critical reforms of significant national impact”.The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) had on several occasions frowned at how MDAs default and practically keep money away from the federal government’s reach.In May, the commission said 32 MDAs failed to remit over N1.2 trillion to the consolidated revenue fund (CRF). The senate had also put the figures at over N3 trillion between 2014 and 2020.

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