THERE are indications that capital releases for federal and state projects and overhead expenses would suffer pending the appointment of a new Accountant-General of the Federation.
This is as a result of the suspension of the incumbent Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arrested Idris on Monday, May 16, 2022 over an alleged N80 billion fraud.
The Accountant-General, according to law, is empowered to release the mandate that enables payments of allocations to federal, states and local governments.
Nigeria is a federating unit and the Accountant-General is empowered by law to raise mandates for the sharing of proceeds from revenue-generating agencies to different tiers of the government.
But the federation account allocation committee (FAAC) meeting for May 2022 has suffered a postponement following the arrest and suspension of Idris.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly affair where the federation allocates monthly revenue to the three tiers of government.
The meeting was initially scheduled to hold on May 18 and 19, 2022.
The ministry of finance, budget and national planning confirmed the meeting postponement on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in a circular signed by Stephen Okon, Director, Home Finance.
The circular read, “I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Honorable Minister’s warm regards.”
Announcing Idris’ “indefinite suspension without pay” on Wednesday, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, said it was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation”, in line with public service rules.
A Senior Programme Officer with the Centre for Social Justice, (CSJ), Fidelis Onyejegbu, told the ICIR that the vacuum that the suspension of Idris would create would have serious implications on inflow of remittances to states and local governments.
Onyejegbu said, “Delays of major projects, like constituency projects, in states and at the federal level, and other overhead payments would suffer pending the appointment of a new Accountant-General.”
He expressed worry that the FAAC meeting was postponed because of the suspension of the Accountant-General, stressing the importance of having a seamless bureaucracy that did not necessarily rely on the principal when he was not available.
Also, an Associate Consultant to the British Department of International Development, (DFID), Celestine Okeke, said it would be important to immediately have an Acting Accountant-General to prevent any administrative distortion.
The Director of Press, Office of the Accountant-General, Henshaw Oguike, did not respond to several calls by our correspondent to give further details on whether the appointment of a new Accountant-General was already being considered and when the next FAAC meeting would happen.