Civil servants (Image from Bussinessday Ng)
By Emma Ujah Abuja Bureau Chief
The federal government has put on hold payments to contractors and other service providers across all its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Presidency sources disclosed this on Thursday that the directive which was given from the highest level became important for two reasons.
The first was what was described as last-minute payments as former President Muhammadu Buhari was bowing out of government with his team.
The second reason, according to sources was due to a problem with the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System ( GIFMIS).
It learnt that some public officers of the last government were authorising arbitrary payments to themselves and their cronies, which raised concerns among the civil servants.
A particular former minister who was involved in a controversial project at the twilight of the Buhari administration was said to have approved a whooping N2 billion for the logo of project.
That payment was considered very outrageous by those familiar with the project but could not stop the affected former minister, who was said to have always bragged about his closeness to the power that be in Aso Villa, then.
Some other similar payments were being processed before the directive to stop all payments from the GIFMIS, the federal government public finance management solution.
On the challenges with the GIFMIS platform , sources said that it was malfunctioning with duplicated payments on single transactions, in some cases.
As learnt, what it meant was that when a payment was initiated, the beneficiary account could be paid twice or even thrice.
On the other hand, a payment could be initiated on the platform but the beneficiary might not receive any money.
On the strength of that , top officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance took a decision , with the approval of the presidency to stop all payments until the platform is fixed.
Given the critical importance of the GIFMIS in the operations of the Federal government, it was learnt that officials of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation who are manning the platform and the consultants have been given marching orders to fix the problem, latest next week.