The National Assembly has criticised the alleged unapproved utilisation of over N12.283bn of the Internally Generated Revenue of the National Pension Commission. The joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Pensions expressed concerns when PenCom appeared before them in Abuja on Monday to defend its 2020 budget proposal.
The Chairmen of the Committees, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau and Mr Ibrahim Rurum, as well as members, including Senator Ali Ndume, Mr Nicholas Ossai, Mr Bamidele Salam and Senator Ubok Anang, took turns to criticise the alleged refusal by the Commission to submit its IGR to the National Assembly for appropriation.
The lawmakers faulted the claim by the Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation approved the proposal on the utilisation of the revenue accrued to the Commission, stating that it was contrary to Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, and Section 80(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Dahiru-Umar said the Commission recorded a total sum of N4.077bn as operating surplus that could not be utilised due to the non-constitution of the supervising board. The PenCom boss maintained that the National Assembly only had the powers to appropriate the sum of N33,307,782.32 released in 2019 to the Commission as subvention, while the IGR was to be approved by the OSGF.
The panel, therefore, demanded details of the 386 staff members who collected about N9bn salaries, estimated at an average of N2m monthly per staff member. According to the documents presented to the Committees, a total sum of N12.283bn was realised by PenCom between January and August 2019, out of which N8.264bn had so far been expended on personnel cost, overheads cost and capital expenditure within the period under review.
However, the Commission had a revenue target of N16.676bn by the end of 2019 from registration fees and penalties, while its expenditure for 2019 was also expected to hit N15.370n by December 31.
A breakdown of the expenditure showed that about of N5.917bn had been spent on personnel cost against the budget sum of N11.066bn; N2.288bn on overhead cost, against N5.916bn budgeted and N58.89m spent so far on capital, against N1.984bn budgeted for 2019. PenCom said, “It is projected that the Commission would generate a total of N19.64bn in year 2020, mainly from regulatory fees and other income.”