The Federal Government has uncovered over 15,000 ghost pensioners from its payroll, hence saving over 300 million Naira on a monthly basis.
The Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this on Tuesday while addressing reporters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Mrs Ikeazor noted that the directorate is conducting a verification exercise for pensioners across the country.
She expressed optimism that more will be weeded out when the exercise is concluded in the South-west region in July 2017.
The Executive Secretary further revealed that the agency is working with the Ministry of Finance to recover over 19 billion Naira legacy funds in the custody of insurance companies from Ministries, Department and Agencies, as well as universities and colleges of education.
The Osun House of Assembly has ordered that a query be issued to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mr Festus Olajide for spending more than 700 million Naira in 2016 budget without the approval of the Assembly.
Mr Kamil Oyedele, the House Committee Chairman on Finance and Appropriation, gave the directive when Mr Olajide appeared before the committee to defend the ministry’s 2017 budget in Osogbo on Wednesday.
Pointing out the the offence committed by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Oyedele said 2.9 billion Naira was approved, but as at August 2016, 3.6 billion Naira had been spent by the ministry.
Describing the act as criminal, Oyedele said, the government official must be queried and subsequently punished.
He said the Assembly would not hesitate to punish any government official who deliberately or ignorantly violate the law passed and assented to by the governor.
Oyedele said the Permanent Secretary should be queried to explain why he should not be handed over to the anti-graft agencies for investigation and prosecution.
He then directed all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government to obtain the State Procurement Law and the Appropriation Law to be guided in spending public fund.
According to him, the era of ‘I don’t know syndrome’ was over, insisting that appropriate step would be taken against any erring officers by the Assembly.
Also, the House Committee Chairman on Education, Mr Folorunsho Bamisayemi and other members frown at the non-creative attitude of officials of the ministry, saying, such would not be tolerated.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a presidential initiative on continuous audit, to strengthen controls of Federal government expenditures.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made the decision known on Wednesday while briefing reporters on the outcome of the FEC meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Mrs Adeosun said that the initiative would not just strengthen the internal audit of the payroll but general expenditures, which may include among others, contracts and pensions of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) without notice.
She revealed that the government had commenced the second phase of the payroll of another potential 11,000 ghost workers.
This the Minister said was sequel to the first phase of the payroll audit which revealed the existence of 23,000 ghosts workers, which saved the country about 2.29 billion Naira.
The recent adoption of a single treasury account by government Ministries, Department and Agencies has been described as a good development that would put a stop to mismanagement of revenue and encourage proper monitoring.
A former President of the Finance Houses Association of Nigeria, Eddie Osarenkhoe, said told Channels Television on Wednesday that the policy should be encouraged in order to have a sanitised public sector.
He said that such policy was a deliberate one meant to promote proper planning to ensure that government agencies do not have a situation where funds meant for the public would be used by individuals to enrich themselves.
“You can’t talk about planning without harmonising your source of income. It is coming because our earnings from crude oil sales was reducing and the government needed to monitor all sources of revenue.
“It is normal that all incomes from all sources should be put in one account. It is an attempt to bring sanity in the system, as it will show a proper account of the earnings of every government agency.
“It is something that we should encourage, as it makes it easier to monitor revenue to ensure, accountability, transparency, liquidity and proper planning,” he stated.
Mr Osarenkhoe stressed that having a single account would make way for proper account auditing, which would enable the government easily identify persons doing well for compensation.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has ordered Ministries, Departments And Agencies (MDAs) to return all unspent monies on personnel votes to the Sub-Treasury of the Federation not later than Monday, December 31, 2012, or face the law.
A statement by the Commission’s chairman, Ekpo Nta, also ordered the MDAs to submit the receipt and expenditure profiles of their personnel cost to the commission not later than January 31, 2013, using a template approved by the commission.
To underscore the seriousness his commission attaches to the directives, the ICPC chairman said “letters have been sent to the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies for strict compliance and to note that any infraction will be prosecuted.”
Mr Nta also announced that the “Commission will commence verification for the returns made to the Sub-Treasury by February, 2013.”
Below is the full text of Mr Nta’s statement:
TREATMENT OF UNSPENT BALANCES OF 2012 PERSONNEL VOTES
The Commission has carried out a pilot System Study and Review on the utilization of the 2011 Personnel Vote of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Observable lapses were highlighted and discussed with the various MDAs.
The Commission will be carrying out another System Study and Review of the 2012 Personnel Vote to ensure total compliance with Section 16 of the Finance (Control and Management) Act, LFN, 1990 and the Financial Regulations regarding unspent balances in line with the Accountant-General of Nigeria’s Circular No. TRY/A5 & B5/2011 of 20th November, 2012.
All MDAs are requested to submit the Receipt and Expenditure profiles of their Personnel Cost to reach the Commission not later than January 31, 2013 using the approved template. For avoidance of doubt, Personnel Vote is for the payment of salaries and allowances for Government employees only. “All unspent balances should be returned to the Sub-Treasury of the Federation by 31st December, 2012.
The Commission will commence verification of the returns made to the Sub-Treasury by February, 2013. Letters have been sent to the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies for strict compliance and to note that any infraction will be prosecuted.