Remita: Reps accuse Accountant General, CBN of complicity in payment of N15bn

Elizabeth AtimeMarch 29, 20244 min

The payment of N15 billion to Remita from the OAGF from 2016 to 2018 is questionable. The OAGF paid the money without an approved agreement or contract.

CBN ways and means

The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Commercial Banks of complicity in the sharing of the N15 billion remittance. 

Similarly, the lawmakers lampooned the Office of the Accountant General for the Federation (OAGF) for payments of N15 billion to Remita which was done illegal without due process. 

The Chairman of PAC, Rep. Bamidele Salam (PDP, Osun), made the allegations while engaging with the Office of the Accountant General at the resumed investigative hearing on revenue leakages on Thursday. 

According to the Chairman, “Remita is a payment solution that helps individuals and businesses make and receive payment, pay bills and manage their finances.’’

In his explanation, Rep. Salam said that the payment of N15 billion to Remita from the OAGF from 2016 to 2018 was questionable, adding that the OAGF paid the money without an approved agreement or contract. 

 He said, “The money is an illegal payment; there was no budget provision, so where did they source the money from?” the chairman queried. 

“The CBN also shared in the money. The money is an illegal payment; there was no budget provision, so where did they source the money from?” 

According to him, for instance, if someone pays N150,00 as a remitter, you will now pay a 7.5 per cent Value-Added Tax (VAT) in addition to it.

“Ordinarily, that whole sum of VAT ought to go to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), but what they are doing in this transaction is that they will now add that VAT to the N150,00.

“They will add it up, gather the money together, and take it to the CBN,” he alleged. 

He said, “System Spec and Remitta, both collecting revenue for the federal government, will share 50 per cent, while the banks and the CBN will also have their share.”

Rep. Bamidele also queried, “I am very sure that hundreds of billions of naira will be the VAT component that was not remitted to FIRS. Now Remita is saying that each of those collecting the money will come and calculate the money that has been shared into shreds. Now, how do we track this kind of money?” he asked. 

Director of Banking Services, CBN, Mr Ahmed Abdullahi in his explanation said they deemed it fit to source for an alternative way of remitting revenue, and Remita and System Spec were selected because they had been rendering similar services to banks. 

According to him, Remita was engaged in 2011 and operations commenced in 2012 with system module names. The CBN only finalised the transaction.

Again, he noted that the fees charged under the Treasury Single Account (TSA) were in line with the structure of banking. The volume of revenue collection that passed through Remita was N86 million.

Mr Oyewole Adewale, Chief Accountant, TSA Department, representing the Accountant General for the Federation, accused the CBN of not honouring its letters to reconcile the revenue accrued to the country through TSA.

He said the OAGF had developed a system where all revenue generated by the Ministries of Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) could now be monitored without any interference.

Mr Aderemi Atanda, Director, Remita Payment Services Ltd., while reading the summary of the TSA collection record, said that 10, 20, and 50 per cent were shared among CBN, commercial banks, and Remitta.

He said that collections are usually not static, adding that they vary. 

“In 2015–2016, it was N4.2 million, and the fee paid was N8.5 billion; in 2016, N1.3 billion was paid.” 

Elizabeth Atime

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