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DisCos are not giving the government their revenues ten years after privatization

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In furtherance of its revenue drive into the Federation Account, the House of Representatives on Tuesday expressed its resolve to ensure that all revenue generating agencies fully remit revenue accruing to government’s coffers.

Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, stated this during the resumed interactive session with the management of Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) on the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) & Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

According to the documents presented to the Committee, forecast dividends expected from 13 companies for 2024 fiscal year is N1.170 trillion against N424.483 billion for 2023; forecast profit/(loss/ after taxes for 2024 stands at N2.541 trillion against N999.419 billion in 2023 and forecast revenues for 2024 stands at N29.064 trillion against N955.467 billion in 2023.

Breakdown of the entities showed that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) forecast dividends for 2024 fiscal year is N1.135 trillion against N388.778 billion in 2023; forecast profit/(loss/ after taxes for 2024 stands at N2.059 trillion against N608.750 billion in 2023 and forecast revenues for 2024 stands at N27.176 trillion in 2024 fiscal year.

In his presentation, MOFI Managing Director, Dr. Armstrong Takang, explained that MOFI holds Federal Government’s interests in corporate entities, which are limited liability companies.

According to him, revenues accruing to the Federal Government is by virtue of dividends declared and remitted to the Federal Government.

He however observed that from the three different categories, the first category are those entities that are in regular payment of dividends; the second category, which is really majority of those entities that traditionally shouldn’t be dividends by virtue of compensation; “while the third category are typically in the multilateral development grants that we have interest in most of them like Afreximbank through which government gets benefits in terms of loan facility at concessionary rates.”

Dr. Katang however observed that some of the entities such as Electricity Distribution Companies where government has equity, namely: Abuja Disco, Benin Disco, Eko Disco, Enugu Disco, Ibadan Disco, Ikeja Disco, Jos Disco, Kaduna Disco, Kano Disco, Port Harcourt Disco and Yola Disco have no record of remittance with MOFI over the past 10 years of their operations after privatisation of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

“Because it hasn’t been a tradition of value creation for those entities. And I think that’s something we really need to change, because if you look at the volume and investments we’ve made in these entities, it runs into billions of dollars. Investments contribute significantly to the dividends.”

Segmentation to sense revenues, profits and taxes, but also the dividends to the federal government’s budget for the other ones.

“When the privatisation happened especially in the power sector, the shares for the private entities 60% for the Discos went to the private entities, the remaining 40% was now broken into the 8% for MOFI and 32% for BPE. But we do not have oversight as to how those Discos are performing and what should have accrue to Federal Government.

“We have written a few times to request for that information but we do not have that and I think that’s an area that even if it’s 8% we are entitled to get, that information but those DISCOs have been recalcitrant in terms of sharing information with us.

“And I believe that we can’t own shares in entities that have been operating for 10 years and we don’t get any dividends neither get any financial report from them to know whether they are performing or not,” he lamented.

To this end, the Committee resolved to invite all the stakeholders on Thursday, with a view to resolve the controversies and recover the money accruing to the Federal Government.

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