Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed has faulted the Accountant General of the federal on using audit report to reconcile MDAs accounts. Speaking during an interactive session with Senator Olamilekan Adeola, led Senate Committee on Finance, Zainab Ahmed countered the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris on using the Audited reports of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government ( MDAs) as basis for reconciliation of their accounts on yearly basis. She also said that MDAs exiting National Budget with mere overheads will not be impactful. According to her since the overhead components of National budget is the smallest, such move will not give the required impacts as far as budget deficits and funding are concerned .
The Finance Minister thus put a hole in the much celebrated success made by the Senate Committee on Finance as regards facilitation of some revenue generating government agencies to exit the National budget. The Senate Committee on Finance had last week announced that federal agencies like the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control ( NAFDAC) , NIGCOMSAT and Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, (NERC ) had agreed to exit the National budget as far as their overhead costs were concerned. Senator Adeola after an interactive session with heads of the agencies last week had said that the move was targeted at reducing yearly budget deficits and getting more revenue to fund budgets. But Zainab in her response said, ” The 2021 budget is N13.8 trillion with overhead components of about N380 billion. So, if any revenue generating government agency, is exiting the national budget with just overhead component, it will not bring about any difference. The components that can bring about significant difference or differences , are recurrent and capital components , which none of the said agencies included in their exit plan from the National budget .”
Speaking on the use of Audited reports of the various MDAs for basis of their account reconciliation on yearly basis as suggested by the Accountant General of the Federation to the Committee, Zainab Ahmed said ” rather than helping to ensure accountability and transparency , it will frustrate it. “Since Audited reports of the various agencies are not made available until four or five years after any year in focus , such document cannot be recommended to be used as basis for account reconciliation of the agencies on yearly basis. If such report is used as basis for accounts reconciliation , the agencies will drag their feet in making it available,” At the end of the day, the Committee asked the Minister to present to it operational template for such account reconciliation in putting the various MDAs, particularly the revenue generating ones, on their toes as far as remittances are concerned.