The Senate has frowned at the failure of the management of the Nigeria Television authority to give an accurate figure of revenue accrued to its account and outstanding debt owed the Government Owned Enterprise.
The joint Senate Committee on Finance and Planning with Senator representing Lagos West, Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan as chairman, consequently asked the Director-General of the NTA, Yakubu Ibn Mohammed to appear before it again on Monday with details of revenue generated, an accurate estimate of debt owed the corporation and the names of its debtors.
Speaking before the joint committee in the ongoing public hearing on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework /Fiscal Strategy Paper, the DG, NTA said he was ignorant of the accurate figure of the debt owed the corporation.
He was equally silent on revenue that has since accrued to the corporation’s account from its existing joint venture agreement with Startimes.
He said: “On debtors, I’m not prepared to make a commitment which I cannot substantiate. I know we are owed much money but right now, I don’t want to make any statement that might be proven wrong later. I have to go back, take a look at our books, ask those that are directly involved to furnish me with useful information so that I can provide the committee with accurate facts. I don’t also have the list of our debtors.”
On the revenue accruable to the NTA from its joint partnership agreement with Startimes, the DG said, “I will provide details on Monday.”
Senator Olamilekan claimed that the DG of the NTA feigned ignorance of the revenue generated by the corporation.
He accused management of the GOE of observing in the breach provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act by taking more than its statutory limit from its Internally Generate Revenue.
He said: “Before any agency could touch any revenue it generates, it must be appropriately declared but the documents that the NTA presents to us is not the true position of the revenue accruable to it.
“What is accrued to Startimes as revenue, less expenditure runs into several billions of naira. The revenue is not disclosed in this document. Irrespective of what you are using it for, the first thing to do is to declare it in this document.
If you are silent on the revenue accrued to you from Startimes, then you are operating below the line account which is not known to the government. We need to know when you entered the joint venture agreement with Startimes, how much has accrued to the NTA.
Any expenditure not contained in the document before us, that is only known to NTA, is a fraud. Before you came here we demanded documents containing detailed revenue and expenditure.
“We want to know how much you get on production every year, how much do you realize in other activities, documentaries, advertisement. For instance, the committee paid NTA N1.078 million to advertise the ongoing public hearing and it was stated that NTA won’t take credit advert.
The Federal Government still funds the NTA fully, it collects subventions and generates revenue.
“On the NTA debt profile, we want to see the names of the debtors, the date and amount involved, and the approving authorities must be stated in a tabular form. All the documents must be provided by the NTA DG by 11 am on Monday.”