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General News of Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Source: The Nation

EFCC scores Gombe IRS low on transparency, accountability

File photo: EFCC officials File photo: EFCC officials

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, North East Zonal office, Gombe has decried the orgy of financial recklessness in Gombe Board of Internal Revenue Service describing as lacking in proper supervision and monitoring process of operation.

EFCC in a paper presented at a one day workshop by the state government on Treasury Single Account, TSA by PDS Salisu Bala Abubakar confirmed the opening of multiple accounts by Gombe IRS which Governor Inuwa Yahaya had earlier raised alarm on.

The paper exclusively made available to the Nation newspaper stated that: “While in the course of our interactions with executive officials, staff members and other consultants of the board the following observations were noted; multiple collection accounts, lack of proper supervision and monitoring processes of operations.”

The EFCC also noted that “books of accounts are not properly kept as mandated by law and failure to follow proper rules and guidelines in mode of operations.

“Connivance between the officials of the board and collecting agents in siphoning public funds, lack of capacity building amongst staff of the board, selfish interest/get rich syndrome and poor remuneration package.”

Governor Inuwa Yahaya had earlier announced the discovery of 2,292 accounts linked to the state government and the sum of N1.48 billion lying dormant in 860 accounts saying with the current situation on the ground, the state either embark on reform or perish.

“A total of 2,292 accounts linked to the state government were captured by the NIBSS and additional 265 hidden accounts were discovered. The sum of 1.48 billion was discovered from 860 accounts that were hitherto dormant or undisclosed. 586 dormant accounts were closed after generating their annual account statements for proper reconciliation and documentation. This shows the enormity of the financial indiscipline and opacity inherited by our administration.

“In order to further foster efficient management of cash resources, I also approved the Cash Management Strategy. This will help enhance budget performance by preventing costly budget overruns that negatively affect the implementation of our Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). Our administration does not see budget as mere figures, but as a tool of governance where expenditure must be carefully planned and backed by revenue, allowing us to meet our budget expectations.

“There will be no development without the requisite resources to help implement our development agenda. That is why our administration is focused on mobilizing resources to finance the execution of projects and programs that will impact positively on the lives of our people. The implementation of the Treasury Single Account is the first step towards achieving this. There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to devastating economic consequences globally. To navigate this, States must develop innovative ways of saving cost, improving efficiencies and eliminating wastage. This requires the highest level of competence and professionalism from our accounting officers. It is my hope that this workshop will arm you with the required skills and strategies to ensure prudent and transparent management of state resources.”

Yahaya who accused his predecessor of financial recklessness and lack of accountability said he first noticed the trend when he came into office in May 2019.

“On our coming to office on May 2019, we met the State finances in a delicate situation, characterized by high debt burden, wastefulness and lack of accountability. Since then, our administration has taken bold and calculated decisions towards putting the State on the path of financial prudence and accountability. The introduction and enforcement of the State Treasury Single Account (TSA) is one of them. In order to ensure successful implementation of the TSA, we set up a standing committee under the chairmanship of the Deputy Governor. I also signed an Executive Order No. 005 of 2020 to further strengthen the implementation and enforcement of the TSA,” he said.

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