From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the probe of past heads of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), for poor remittances.
It was the first FEC meeting since the president returned from his over one hundred day medical trip in London, last month.
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who briefed council about the performances of some government agencies, said JAMB for the first time remitted N5 billion to the coffers of the government with a balance of N3 billion still to be remitted compared to maximum of N3 million per annum remitted in the past.
JAMB in July announced the remittance of N5 billion to the Federal Government, the highest in the last 40 years of its existence.
According to Adeosun, while NIMASA remitted N4.95 billion in 2015, it remitted N24 billion in 2016
She said the disparity in the remittances of the two agencies in the past and now necessitated the decision to probe all previous heads of the two agencies.
Adeosun said the discovery had led to a directive from the FEC to summon all past heads of JAMB to explain where past revenues had been diverted to, noting that the current generation by the body is not prompted by increase in JAMB fees as they remain the same.
The minister also disclosed that other agencies with similar discrepancies in their revenue remittances will be probed.
Adeosun also debunked beliefs that Nigeria exited recession because disruption of oil installations in the Niger Delta had stopped and oil production volume has consequently increased, saying the exit was not driven by increase in oil revenues only but also by investment in infrastructure such as road construction, which she said facilitated the growth in agriculture and industry.
Adeosun also said the council approved a memo she presented which harped on the necessity of Nigeria to join African Trade Insurance Agency to provide risk guarantee for investment coming into Nigeria as well as export from the country.
She said joining the agency would provide risk guarantee, sovereign guarantee and risk mitigation, disclosing that many African countries are already members of the agency.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said FEC was encouraged by the economic growth rate of 0.55 per cent which aided Nigeria’s exit.
According to him, it was the first time that the economy was growing after five quarters while the entire industry sector on the other hand was growing for the first time in nine quarters.
He, however, added that the growth was small and hence, not a growth that could impact the economy positively but only showed that the economy was moving in the right direction. He said the government would continue to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) with the target growth of 3.5 per cent.
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