Sunday, April 22, 2018 06:38
PM/ Federal Ministry of Finance Release
The attention of the Accountant General of the Federation(AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, has been drawn to some misleading & false publications by Premium Times & Sahara Reporters which alleged extra-budgetary spending over the release of N10bn for contractors’ liabilities.
The Office of the AGF wishes to disclaim the malicious reports as there was no extra-budgetary spending over the release of the funds for contractors’ liabilities.
The Office of the AGF has in recent times observed that Premium Times has formed the habit of distorting and concocting allegations against Aso Rock, Federal Ministry of Finance and the OAGF in a bid to achieve a hidden agenda.
This is despite all efforts made to set the record straight before representatives of Premium Times and also present documents to support the transparency & accountability in the release of funds to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and institutions of Govt.
Mr. Idris clarified that the alleged N10 billion was duly appropriated for under the Service Wide Vote.
He said, “The payment of the sum of N10 billion for local contractors’ liabilities was not outside the budget, and its release followed laid down extant financial regulations. This money was appropriated for in the Service Wide Vote.”
“In fact, the sum of N20 billion was provided for local contractors’ liabilities under the 2017 Appropriation for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and institutions of Government, including INEC Nigeria, NASS Nigeria, Judiciary and other statutory bodies.”
He explained further that the procedure for application of the funds was that the money had to pass through the agencies and institutions of Government which awarded the contracts.
“In the past, payments were directly made to contractors but this created a lot of reconciliation problems. The procedure was however changed in 2017 for accountability purposes.”
“The funds now pass through originating MDAs & Institutions of Govt with returns in respect of the Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE) required to be forwarded to the Director, Cash Mgt Dept & should be supported by copies of all payment vouchers which have been authorized.”
As part of the procedure, the AGF stated that the MDAs and Institutions of Government were required to prepare vouchers, put in place internal audits, verify work done by the contractors, and deduct relevant taxes.
He added that the Muhammadu Buhari Administration has, since coming on board, implemented a number of fiscal policies aimed at strengthening financial control, improving transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.
Speaking further, the AGF maintained that the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari has remained committed to boosting the capacity of local contractors by clearing outstanding liabilities and providing level playing ground for them to compete.
“Such payment of local contractors’ debts therefore, is critical in achieving the positive outcomes such as revamping the economy, sustaining the country’s economic growth, and creating more jobs and wealth,” he added.
On the implementation of the Budget, Idris said the Finance Control and Management Act of 1958 places the responsibility on the Minister of Finance.
“Once the Budget has been passed by the National Assembly and assented to by Mr. President, the implementation rests with the Minister of Finance. For the release of any fund, it must have been provided for in the Budget,” he stated.
The Treasury Boss also revealed that the sum of N2.7 trillion has been proposed in 2018 for the National Assembly’s approval in line with the Government’s desire to pay local contractors’ liabilities.
The money is for payment of inherited obligations. The N2.7 trillion, he added, would be raised through bonds to meet the outstanding obligations to local contractors in 2018.
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