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Anti-Corruption War: FG unveils financial transparency policy/open treasury portal

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.. Sets 3 Months Deadline for Full Compliance by MDAs

…Orders AGF, Acct. Officers to Publish Daily Financial Reports  

…Says GIFMIS now Covers 800MDAs

By Emmanuel Elebeke

Buhari orders Accountant General publish daily treasury statement

The Federal government on Monday launched a Financial Transparency Web Portal to enhance accountability and transparency in the handling all public finances.

Unveiling the portal, President Mohammadu Buhari said the initiative was in furtherance of the anti-corruption policy of his administration to rid the country of corruption.

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He said the launching of the portal was sequel to the approval of the policy by the Federal Executive Council which requires the publication of public financial information through the Open Treasury Portal www.opentreasury.gov.ng in order to demonstrate transparency and accountability to the public and its cooperating  partners and build trust in government.

He further said the launch the Federal Government Financial Transparency Policy and a Portal to support its implementation was also in commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day.

It will be recalled that 9th December was declared International Anti-Corruption Day by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

President Buhari, who was represented at the event by the minister of state for Niger Delta, Sen. Tayo Alasoadura explained that the policy is meant to cement government commitment to improving governance  and supplement the recently launched  Whistle Blower policy and equip the general population with the tools they need to report financial wrongdoing.

In addition, he said the launch of the policy was aimed at facilitating the fight against corruption in all government MDAs and setting the minimum requirements financial transparency by all MDA.

To ensure full implementation of the initiative, the President said the new policy requires that the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) must publish a Daily Treasury Statement which will provide information about what came into the national purse and what went out every single day.

‘‘I repeat every single day. Henceforth, Treasury is required to publish this information unfailingly.

The AGF and all Accounting Officers must publish Daily Payments Reports. With these reports, the Treasury will publish payments of at least 10 million naira while all MDAS must publish payments

above 5 million naira made out of all public funds under their purview.

‘‘The information to be published must include the MDA responsible, the beneficiary, the purpose and amount of each payment Accounting Officers are responsible for providing answers to any questions from the public relating to transactions completed by entities under their charge. All MDAS must publish Monthly Budget Performance Reports.

‘‘These reports must include performance of the budget by various dimensions including MDAs, functions and economic activities performed by all Federal Government Agencies. These reports must be ready within 7 days after the end of the month. The AGF must publish monthly Fiscal Accounts detailing fiscal,’’ he affirmed.

In fulfilment of his administration’s promise to change the paradigm in public service President Buhari said the administration has rolled out the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to over 800 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAS), which had enabled it build a very rich repository of financial information about the affairs of the Federal Government.

‘‘My administration pledged to Nigerians that we will work towards changing the way we do business. We promised that we will improve revenue collection as well as spending through better systems.

‘‘As of today, we have recorded significant milestones including the rollout of the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to over 800 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAS), which has enabled us to build a very rich repository of financial information about the affairs of the Federal Government.

‘‘Within government, we know who is collecting what revenue and who is getting paid which money and for what purpose. This information is available online real-time, but only to a limited number of privileged government officials. This has to change now,’’ he said.

Earlier in her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said the new policy financial policy is in furtherance of the anti-corruption fight against corruption of the present administration and in line with the global best practice.

The minister who expressed confidence in the ability of the policy to curb corruption, said the

implementation would not only enthrone transparency and accountability in the public institutions but would also lead to immense benefits to the economy.

She further informed that all MDAs are expected to comply within the next three months, saying that extensive consultation was taken before approval by the Federal Executive Council, part of which is the automation of the GIFMIS.

As a result of this all parastatals had keyed in and a dedicated portal set up for the same purpose.

‘‘We expect full implementation and compliance by three months from today. A compliance committee has been set up for monitoring. This policy will offer citizens the opportunity to hold public office holders accountable. This job is not only for government but for all citizens.’’

In his remarks, the Speaker of House of Representative, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Mohammed Mungunu said the importance of the new policy cannot be overemphasised in the light of the fact that President Buhari’s administration is not only preaching anti-corruption but also walking the talk.

The speaker urged the Executive to ensure that the policy is translated into law and called for collaboration between the two arms of government to avert policy summersault in future.

‘‘What is being done here today is in tandem with the anticorruption policy of this administration.

‘‘What is being done here today is in tandem with anti-corruption war policy. There is need to translate the policies into laws to avert policy summersault. We are ready to collaborate with executive on the policy. Executive and legislature must collaborate to avert policy summersault.’’

Vanguard

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