NASS accuses PENCOM of illegal utilisation of N12.283bn IGR

The National Assembly on Monday expressed displeasure over arbitrary utilisation of over N12.283 billion internally generated revenue by National Pension Commission (PenCom) without the approval of the legislature.

The Senators and members of the House of Representatives’ Joint Committees on Pensions expressed the concerns during the 2019 budget implementation and 2020 budget defence co-chaired by Senator Ibrahim Shekarau and Hon. Ibrahim Rurum.

The lawmakers including Senator Ali Ndume; Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, Hon. Babatunde Salam, Senator Ubok Anang had during the tension soaked engagement frowned at the refusal of the Commission to submit its internally generated revenue to the National Assembly for appropriation.

The lawmakers also took the PENCOM Director General to task over her submission that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation approves the proposal on the utilisation of the Internally Generated Revenue accrued to the agency, contrary to section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and Section 80(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

To this end, the lawmakers demanded the details of the 386 staff who collect about N9 billion salaries estimated at an average of N2 million monthly per staff.

According to the documents presented to the Joint Committees, a total sum of N12.283 billion was realised by the Commission between January and 31st August 2019 out of which N8.264 billion has so far been expended on personnel cost, overheads cost and capital expenditure within the period under review.

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However, the Commission is expected to generate a total sum of N16.676 billion by the year ending 31st December 2019 from registration fees and penalties while its expenditure for 2019 is also expected to hit N15.370 billion by 31st December 2019.

Breakdown of the expenditure showed that total sum of N5.917 billion has been spent on personnel cost against the budget sum of N11.066 billion; N2.288 billion spent on overhead cost against N5.916 billion budgeted while N58.89 million spent so far on capital expenditure against N1.984 billion on capital projects budgeted for the Commission for the year 2019.

As stipulated in the document: “it is projected that the Commission would generate a total of N19.64 billion in year 2020, mainly from regulatory fees and other income, while expenditure items listed above including Personnel cost, capacity building for staff, seminars and workshops for stakeholders, monitoring and examination activities, capital items and administrative expenses would amount to N19.44 billion in the year 2020.”

Speaking earlier, acting Director General of PENCOM, Mrs Aisha Dahiru-Umar, explained that the Commission recorded a total sum of N4.077 billion operating surplus that can not be utilised due to the non-constitution of the supervising Board.

Mrs Dahiru-Umar maintained that the National Assembly only has powers to appropriate the sum of N33,307,782.32 subvention released in 2019 to the Commission while the Internally Generated Revenue is to be approved by the oSGF.

She explained that the Commission is not the custodian of the funds accrued from workers’ pension, adding that the Pension Funds Administrators (PFAs) received and advise the Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs) on how to manage the funds while the Commission only regulates the operators.

She also informed the lawmakers that the sum of N2.998 billion appropriated in 2018 and N1.882 billion as Other Staff Cost (Allowances) were for workers’ allowances.

She added that the N30 million earmarked for miscellaneous expenditure minor assets, water dispensers, among others.