Establishing loot recovery management agency, unnecessary, RMAFC tells NASS

House of Reps
House of Representatives

The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) says the bill seeking to establish an agency to manage recovered assets and funds from looters is unnecessary.

Acting Chairman Shettima Abba-Gana said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

Mr Jones Onyereri (PDP-Imo) had in 2017 sponsored a bill to establish an agency called Nigerian Assets Management Agency (NAMA) that would be responsible for management of all seized and forfeited funds and assets recovered by various security agencies and courts.

The bill, which has passed its second reading, seeks to ensure proper coordination of all Federal Government owned assets whether existing or acquired through seizures, court orders and forfeitures.

Abba-Gana, however, said that creating such agency would only result in duplication of agencies as there were other existing agencies that could carry out the responsibility.

“The commission’s position is very clear and we wrote as such to the National Assembly informing them that there is no need to create such agency when there are several agencies that can manage assets of the government.

“We recommended Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and there is the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) which can also manage assets.

“Therefore, creating another agency when two agencies exist that can manage these assets is absolutely unnecessary.

“We will just be paying salaries unnecessarily and putting the burden on taxpayers.

“And the lesser cost of governance becomes and efficient, the less it will be a burden to taxpayers and on businesses and the more the private sector will thrive,” he said.

He said that one of the mandates of the RMAFC was to give fiscal advice and monitor accruals and disbursement of funds to and from the federation account.

The acting chairman also said the commission was also mandated to look at general fiscal issues.

According to him, if the laws that established these existing agencies did not give room for them to handle such responsibilities, then the laws can be modified to accommodate what is needed.

He said that it was easier to modify, alter or amend the law than to create a brand new agency.

“If you check the laws or mandate establishing these agencies, like that of the RMAFC, there is a provision at the end of it that says apart from its specific mandate; it can carry out any other assignments given to it by the authorities.

“So, it means that there is an opening for even more work to come to the commission if the National Assembly passes it.

“So, for most of these agencies, they also have the same provision that any other assignment by the National Assembly or the president should be carried out.

“However, if that provision is not there, the National Assembly can amend the law to carry out this extra responsibility rather than creating more agencies,” he said.

Abba-Gana also said that the Oransaye report which recommended merger of agencies to reduce the cost of governance was still very valid and should be looked into to avoid duplication of agencies.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and currency also opposed the bill.

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