The House of Representatives on Thursday quizzed the Post Master General of Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), Mr Adebayo Adewusi over the failure of the agency to remit 25 percent operating surplus from the total sum of N26 billion generated between 2016 and 2019.
The Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. Abiodun Faleke who spoke at the ongoing investigative hearing into unremitted operating surplus to government coffer expressed concern over the breach of the provisions of extant financial laws and regulations by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) funded by Federal Government, however, directed NIPOST management to ensure payment of substantial part of the outstanding revenue due to government before 12th March 2020.
Hon. Faleke who demanded the utilization of the N4.8 billion generated by NIPOST in 2013, but could not be accounted for by the agency; worried over the zero remittance from the total sums of N6 billion, N7 billion, N7 billion and N5.5 billion generated between 2016 to 2019.
The Chairman and members of the committee, who frowned at the development, also accused previous NIPOST management of non-remittance of N223.670 million; N282.932 million; N91.150 million; N443.038 million and N276.600 million between 2010 and 2014 (amounting to N1.3 billion), as encapsulated in the Accountant General’s report.
While acknowledging the reforms instituted by the current Post Master General while serving as Commissioner of Finance in Lagos State, maintained that all the outstanding operating surplus must be remitted to government coffer to enable Federal Government to fund the 2020 budget.
The lawmakers who chided the agency for failing to submit its audited report as at when due, alleged that the past NIPOST management could not justify the utilization of the huge revenue accrued to the coffers of NIPOST within the period under review.
The visibly angry lawmakers also expressed concern over the state of NIPOST which has nationwide network and structure vis-à-vis other private courier service companies such as DHL, TNT which run their businesses profitably.
While responding, the Post Master General who was accompanied by the Director Finance and Administration disclosed that Federal Government provides N600million monthly salary, while the organisation is responsible for overhead and capital expenditure.
Mr Adewusi who reiterated Federal Government’s plan to unbundle and reposition NIPOST assured that there is no plan to retrench any of the 12,000 staff across the country.
While arguing that NIPOSt has been an orphan of Federal Government for about 22 years, Mr Adewusi exempted himself from the rot uncovered in the agency, saying “I was not a party to this.”
Mr Adewusi who urged the Committee to grant a waiver of all outstanding operating surplus, pleaded with for the understanding of the Parliament saying: “wherever I go I make changes, and NIPOST will not be an exemption… I won’t take responsibility for what happened long before I came.”
He argued that NIPOST is currently bleeding because the government has not released fund for the capital expenditure, adding that the decision of Federal Government to deprive NIPOST of collecting Stamp Duty impact negatively on the organization.
But in a swift reaction to his submission, Hon. Faleke observed that the money accrued from the Stamp Duty belongs to Federal Government and not NIPOST, adding that: “if you collect it, it would have gone down the drain.”
Despite all entreaties, the Chairman threatened that the House would be left with no option than to recommend that Federal Government should stop paying the salaries of NIPOST workers forthwith.