BPE fails to au­dit ac­count since 2010

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Sun­day Michael Ogwu Di­rec­tor Gen­eral BPE, Ben­jamin Ezra-Dikki

The Bureau for Pub­lic En­ter­prise (BPE) con­fessed yes­ter­day at a pub­lic hear­ing or­gan­ised by the Fis­cal Re­spon­si­bil­ity Com­mis­sion (FRC) that its ac­count has not been au­dited since 2010.

The rev­e­la­tion fol­lowed a heated de­bate be­tween the two agencies of govern­ment over what the FRC de­scribed as “the seem­ing lack of co­op­er­a­tion and de­sire to re­spond to is­sues, letters and re­minders” by the BPE.

The BPE is charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of im­ple­ment­ing the Nige­rian pol­icy on pri­vati­sa­tion and com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion.

The Act­ing Chair­man of the FRC, Bar­ris­ter Vic­tor Mu­ru­ako, who ex­pressed his con­cern over the pos­ture of the BPE, said: “BPE is yet to remit an out­stand­ing op­er­at­ing sur­plus of over N81 mil­lion been the fi­nan­cial op­er­at­ing sur­plus of the 2007.

“They are with­hold­ing their fi­nan­cial state­ment for what­ever rea­son. It is con­demnable and not ac­cept­able to this com­mis­sion.”

But in a swift re­ac­tion to the chair­man’s com­ment, the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the BPE Ben­jamin Ezra-Dikki raised is­sues with their in­clu­sion in the Fis­cal Re­spon­si­bil­ity Act of 2007 and ac­cused the FRC of not giv­ing the BPE’s ex­pla­na­tion req­ui­site un­der­stand­ing.

He said: “The Bureau re­mit­ted N200 mil­lion in the same 2007 and we have been asked to come up with an­other N81 mil­lion, there is no op­er­at­ing sur­plus. We don’t pay op­er­at­ing sur­plus. No­body has an­swered our sub­mis­sion and we are been called to make the same sub­mis­sion again.”

How­ever, the pre­sen­ta­tion of the BPE took a dra­matic turn when the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Sanusi Abdu Ali, who is the head of Cen­tral Ac­count of the BPE, in a fran­tic ef­fort to jus­tify the non pre­sen­ta­tion of the 2010 to 2013 fi­nan­cial re­port, drew ref­er­ence of non com­pli­ance by other govern­ment agencies.

The Di­rec­tor Gen­eral said: “Our ac­counts are sup­posed to be ap­proved by the co­or­di­nat­ing min­is­ter of the econ­omy as well as the vice pres­i­dent who is the chair­man of the pri­vati­sa­tion coun­cil to whom we re­port. These are very busy people and that has af­fected the readi­ness of these ac­counts.

“We are all govern­ment agencies and we know how these things work. It is in the pub­lic do­main that an agency of govern­ment has not au­dited its ac­count in the last 10 years. We are also op­er­at­ing within the law, let’s be real­is­tic about this.”

But, in his re­sponse, the FRC Chair­man said: “That is black­mail, the is­sue of the vice pres­i­dent should not come in, and His Ex­cel­lency should be kept out of this. We will not be in­tim­i­dated by the pad­dling of the Vice Pres­i­dent’s name. The BPE should do its job. The Vice Pres­i­dent and the Co­or­di­nat­ing Min­is­ter of the Econ­omy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, are also chairs and mem­bers of the Debt Man­age­ment Of­fice, and that is one of the best com­ply­ing agencies we have.” dur­ing the fes­tive pe­riod to guar­an­tee ad­e­quate sup­ply of petrol.

Ola­wore­saidthatad­di­tion­alpetrol of 77.5,000 met­ric tonnes which rep­re­sents about 35 truck of 33,000 litres of petrol is billed to be dis­charged next week.

He said that about 95,000 met­ric tonnes of petrol is also ex­pected at the Nige­rian Na­tional Petroleum Cor­po­ra­tion de­pots to ease flow of prod­ucts within the nooks and cran­nies of the coun­try.

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