The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied claims made by the Senate Finance Committee that it did not remit 80 percent of its operational surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in the last five years.
At an interactive session with revenue-generating agencies, the Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola Olamilekan (APC Lagos West), said: “Nigeria would not have had the problem of insufficient revenue to fund its annual budget if revenue-generating agencies were remitting 80 percent of their operational surpluses into the CRF as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.”
“Specifically, the Central Bank of Nigeria has not remitted any revenue from its operational surpluses into the Consolidated Revenue Fund in the last five years, despite having a yearly budget of N2.3 trillion.”
But, in a swift response, Dr. Kingsley Obiora, the CBN’s Deputy Governor in charge of Economic Policy, debunked the claim, claiming that 80 percent of the Apex bank’s operational surpluses have always been remitted to the CRF on a yearly basis.
He explained that the remittance is made in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act rather than the CBN Act, which requires a 75 percent remittance.
“With all due respect to the Senate and, in particular, this committee, the CBN had never defaulted on the remittance of its operational surpluses as a law-abiding government agency.”
“Despite the fact that the CBN Act only requires us to remit 75 percent,” he said, “we do this on a yearly basis as required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.”
The committee’s Chairman, on the other hand, has given the CBN until Friday this week to produce documentary evidence of its remittances from the previous five years.
He also requested that the Apex Bank produce its audited financial statements for the previous five years, as well as its monetary policy position paper on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper that the committee is considering.
“Whoever seeks equity must do so with clean hands.” Since you have declared in front of the entire world that CBN has been remitting 80% of operational surpluses to CRF, we need to see the documentary evidence to put the controversy to rest.
He directed, “Let’s have these documents by 11:00 a.m. on Friday.”
The committee chairman’s attempt to compel the Director General of the Budget Office, Mr. Benjamin Akabueze, to confirm or deny the CBN’s claims was unsuccessful, as Akabueze stated that verification will be determined through an ongoing process.