THE Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, got a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday on the country’s daily income and expenditure.
He was asked to create an Open Treasury Portal (OTP) where information on financial transactions would be provided every day.
Buhari spoke through the Minister of State for Niger Delta, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, at the launch of the Federal Government financial transparency policy/open-treasury portal in Abuja.
The President told the AGF that the treasury was required to publish this information unfailingly.
Though the idea of publishing accruals to and withdrawals from the nation’s purse was muted in 2018, only a handful of government officials had access to the information.
“The government”, he said, “has committed to full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 so that government-held data-sets can be availed and used by the media and the public at large. All MDAs are required to promptly respond to additional requests for information beyond what is published.”
After Monday’s presidential directive, the AGF and all accounting officers must now publish Daily Payments Reports.
“With these reports, the Treasury will publish payments of at least N10 million while all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) must publish payments above 5 million naira made out of all public funds under their purview,” he said.
The President went further: “The information 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 seven days after the end of the month.
“The AGF should publish monthly Fiscal Accounts detailing fiscal performance of the Federation including receipts from all the collection agencies and payments out of the Federation Account. This must be done within 14 days after the end of the month.
“The AGF and all Accounting Officers of MDAs must publish Quarterly Financial Statements for government as a whole and for individual MDAS respectively. These must be published within a month after the end of the quarter.
The AGF must also publish Annual General Purpose Financial Statements while all public Sector entities are required to publish statements for their individual entities. These statements must be prepared following International Public Sector Accounting Standards and must be ready within a month after the end of the first quarter of the following year.”
President Buhari advised that public officers’ action should be guided with the reality that information about their fiduciary responsibilities and actions would be easily accessed by not only law enforcement agencies but also the general public.
Buhari urged contractors and other service providers to note “that any payment you receive from the public purse will be published. Ensure you collect public money for legitimate purposes for if not, it will not take long before it is known.”
This policy, the President said, has to be implemented in order to improve governance and supplement the recently launched whistle-blower policy. It is also to equip the general public with the tools they need to report financial wrongdoing.
Besides, it is to among other things:Help facilitate the fight against corruption through partnership building so that transparency is not only encouraged but enforced at all levels .
Set the minimum requirements for financial transparency by all MDAs “while full and complete disclosure should be encouraged, a minimum needs to be set to ensure that non-compliance can be established and addressed.
To enable the implementation of the policy, he said, an online platform – www.opentreasury.gov.ng, has been opened for all MDAs to publish all the information required by the policy and for immediate access by all.
As of today, the rollout of the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to over 800 MDAs, has enabled government to build what it calls “a rich repository of financial information about the affairs of the Federal Government.