The federal government online financial transactions have been put on hold as Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government grapple with financial crisis following a presidential directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to place embargo on their accounts.
LEADERSHIP exclusively gathered that all the MDAs have been stifled of funds to conduct normal or regular transactions with their vendors. It was learnt that contractors and suppliers of the agencies have not been paid their fees from May ending to date.
Multiple sources in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, CBN and Office of the Accountant-general of the Federation confirmed the presidential embargo on the accounts of the MDAs to LEADERSHIP.
A director in the finance ministry who asked not to be named said the directive was given by the new administration to prevent civil servants, especially interim heads of the MDAs from engaging in sharp practices before substantive ministers are appointed. “It is a presidential directive that was given by the new government. The idea is to enable the president know what he met on ground and to be able to know where he is taking off from,” the director who should know said.
It was also learnt that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave the directive to conduct background checks into the books of the various agencies for proper accountability.
A very reliable source at Centre for Management Development (CMD) told our correspondent that when some staff of the agency went to enquire from CBN on why their authorised payments have not been paid, “we were simply told no reason. We are not paying those kind of transactions for now,” he said.
The source said most of their requests for payment to conduct regular training programmes for their participants have suffered much setback due to no release of funds from the central bank. The participants pay to be trained in various management skills, processes and procedures.
All of the organisation’s internally generated revenues are usually paid into an account with CBN where 25 per cent is taken by the federal government and 75 per cent is given to the organisation for operational costs.
The development has affected payment processes with civil and public servants now having to draw their Salah allowances direct from CBN.
A senior staff in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing also told me that the amount of payments by MDAs have been cut by the new memo that was recently sent to the director in charge of finance and account department. It was also learnt that for ministries to pay out monies from N20 million and above to contractors, such a ministry now has to seek approval from ministry of finance, central bank and accountant-general’s office.
“Before now we get our allowances from the ministry. But I was surprised to be told from our account department that this coming Salah celebration allowance would be paid direct to us by CBN,” a source in the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing told me yesterday in Abuja.
When our correspondent contacted spokesmen of the ministry of finance, CBN and Office of the Accountant-general of the Federation for official remarks they all claimed ignorance of the development, with each of them referring our correspondent to the other.
However, a senior account officer at the Office of Accountant-general of the Federation said the embargo was placed on the accounts due to malfunctioning of Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS), a payment platform of the federal government.
According to her, GIFMIS is either overpaying or under-paying at the moment. She said some payment instructions that were given over a week ago are yet to be credited into accounts of the beneficiaries even as days run into weeks.