The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, said on Wednesday that over 400 out of 541 Federal Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies are to be scrapped as recommended by Stephen Orosanye-led Presidential Committee on agencies’ rationalisation.
Olamilekan, who made the declaration on the second day of the ongoing interface between the committee and heads of MDAs on revenue drive for the implementation of the proposed N19.76trillion 2023 budget, said Orosanye panel recommended the retention of 106 of the MDAs.
According to him, revenue generation was the most critical factor being considered by the Federal Government before retaining 106 MDAs or scrapping 400.
The Lagos West senator made the assertion after the Director General of the National Bio-safety Management Agency, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, had made a presentation to the committee on low revenue generation by the agency.
The DG, in his submission, said only N2million had been generated by NBMA this year as against the N5 million it usually generated on yearly basis, noting that out of the N2 .5billion appropriated for the capital budget this year, only N1.3billion was released.
The senator, who became furious by the report, told the Biosafety Management Agency boss that it was unacceptable for an agency spending N500 million a year outside capital projects to be remitting N5milllion into government coffers.
He noted that the time for such low revenue generation by any government agency was over, as those not meeting up would be scrapped as recommended by the Orosanye panel.
He said, “There is no way of stopping the implementation of the Orosanye panel because of the economic situation at hand in the country.
“The government needs revenue for impactful budget implementation, particularly in the area of project execution, and can no longer afford to be dolling money to MDAs without corresponding returns on yearly basis.
“We in the Senate are in support of the implementation of the Orosanye-led panel report to save the economy from self-inflicted bleeding.”
The anger of the committee climaxed after a submission made by the Managing Director of Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority, Engineer Buhari Bature Mohammed, who said out of the N7 billion collected from the government as funding for the year 2022, only a N7million revenue was generated.
The committee consequently agreed that the Orosanye report should be applied on agencies with yearly low revenue generation.
Adeola further threatened zero budget allocation in the year 2023 for any agency whose accounting officer refused to honour the ongoing interface on revenue generation.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari, failed to appear before the committee as directed on Tuesday by the Chairman.
Senate has no legal backing to invite us – NNPCL
Meanwhile, the NNPC Limited, in response to the invitation from the Senate, said that since the agency was now a limited liability company by virtue of provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act, the Senate had no legal backing to summon it for any form of appearance.
The NNPC response was sent to the Senate Committee on Finance through the Clerk to the National Assembly, Architect Amos Ojo Olatunde.
But in his reaction to the letter, Adeola said that NNPC was 100 per cent owned by the Federal government and it could be invited at any time to appear before the lawmakers for any explanation.
Adeola gave the reaction when the General Manager, Public Affairs, NNPCL, Garbadeen Muhammad, appeared before the Committee at the Interactive session on 2023-2025 MTEF/FSP projections.
He added that the law passed by the National Assembly only empowered the NNPCL to be an active participant in the oil industry.
He said, “Your liaison officer told the clerk of the National Assembly that you are now a limited liability company and that you cannot be appearing before the Senate.
“We will summon you and invite you at any hour we need your attention. You are a limited liability company by our law. We changed your status because we wanted you to be an active participant in the oil industry.
“Call your liaison officer and correct the impression. It is owned by the Federal Government and you remain accountable to the Federal Government. There are potent issues you need to address.”