Government’s approach was not only unconstitutional but could compromise the sovereignty of the country.
Section 80 of the 1999 Constitution was explicit on whatever money raised in the name of the government.
Such money must be paid into the Federation Account and could only be spent through appropriation by the National Assembly, he said.
The proposal by government to go “a begging” by soliciting for funds from foreign companies has far reaching implications. In my considered opinion, I think it is unconstitutional for an agency of government that was set up without any legal backing to go in the name of the Federal Government to solicit for funds.
Under our Constitution, Section 80 says any money raised by the Federal Government must be paid into the Federation Account or Consolidated Revenue Fund and therefore subjected to appropriation by an Act of the National Assembly.
So if you go to look for money from foreign firms in the name of the Federal Government for the 50th anniversary, that money assuming that they give it to you belongs to the Federal Government and you cannot spend it without appropriation.
Even the President cannot spend such money. Under what sub-head will he spend it unless it has been appropriated by the National Assembly.”
Foreign companies operating in the country have terms and conditions attached to the donations they make.
Nigerians should not lose sight of the fact that there are immigration laws and other laws regulating the operations of the foreign firms in the country.
I will like us to look at the laws upon which these companies were set up in Nigeria to see whether or not they have the powers and capacity to give money to foreign governments.
It will be imperative to find out whether our laws and the laws of their home governments permit such acts.
Such funds expected from foreign firms should have been part of the revenue profile to be considered by the National Assembly during the preparation of 2010 budget.
On what conditions are you taking this money? Are you giving these companies tax incentives, tax breaks or tax holidays?
because in normal countries such donations will attract some tax incentives for the donor organisations.
If it is so, it then means that on the long run, it will also affect our revenue as a country. Can the Presidency or one of its organs now give tax incentives like that without going through due process?
The donation for anniversary funds is almost the same thing that happened during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration “when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government cajoled some companies to donate to a private project in the name of a Presidential Library and in one sitting they raised $7million.
What account did that money go into? Isn’t that money supposed to go into the government coffers as revenue?
These are things that ordinarily we should as legislators look at. It may seem innocuous and harmless when you say we are just asking for money to place adverts but it has wider legal and constitutional implications.