- FG Lost N70bn to Failed Banks – Accountant-General
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, on Thursday said over N70bn of funds belonging to the Federal Government had been lost to failed banks in the country.
He said this in a presentation on the ‘Challenges of the implementation of the Treasury Single Account in the Nigerian public service’ during a forum organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms.
Idris, who did not disclose the identity of the failed banks, said the TSA had been used by the government to unify all its accounts by ensuring that all monies belonging to the Federal Government were kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He explained that the initiative, which commenced fully in September 2015, had been complied with by over 900 agencies of government, with over 17,000 bank accounts closed, while huge sums of money had been moved from the banks to the CBN.
Idris, who was represented at the event by Deputy Director/Coordinator, TSA/e-Collection Funds Department, Accountant-General of the Federation’s Office, Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh, said the TSA policy had been able to assist the government to address a lot of impediments affecting the efficiency of public finance.
He stated, “The cardinal objective of the TSA is to facilitate the implementation of the Federal Government cash management policy.
“The TSA is intended to address multiple bank accounts of over 17,000, countless dormant accounts with huge balances, inability to determine consolidated cash position of government, borrowing and incurring charges when there are idle balances in Ministries, Departments and Agencies’ account, and delayed remittance of revenue and collections. Over N70bn of Federal Government funds was lost to failed banks.”
The AGF told participants at the event that the government was currently enjoying a lot of benefits from the implementation of the TSA policy.
For instance, he stated that through the policy, the government had been able to block leakages and abuse, which had characterised the public sector before its commencement in September 2015.
Apart from blocking leakages, Idris said the TSA initiative had assisted the government to overcome the burden of indiscriminate borrowings by the MDAs thus saving the government a lot of bank charges associated with the borrowings.
In addition, he said through the policy, the government had eliminated various financial charges which hitherto stood at N11bn.
According to him, despite the successes so far recorded, there are still some institutional and operational challenges that are affecting the scheme.
He gave some of them as capacity deficit, lack of clarity on stakeholders’ roles, conflicting directives and signals, resistance based on limited understanding of the TSA, and non-enrolment of key arms of government.
Others are lump sum transfer of the MDAs’ balances by Deposit Money Banks, difficulty in accessing bank statements and associated reconciliation issues, and multiplicity of sub-accounts.
The Acting Director-General, BPSR, Mr. Dasuki Arabi, said the agency considered the TSA as an important policy that would assist to improve transparency and accountability in government expenditure.
“One of the key concerns of the government has been how to tackle the menace of corruption and reduce it to the barest minimum. The BPSR considers the TSA policy to be an extremely important policy initiative in improving transparency and accountability in government expenditure,” he added.
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
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