From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, has revealed how his office evolved reforms that have brought about growth in the economy.
The accountant, who mounted the saddle on June 25, 2015, was given a mandate to instill transparency, accountability and probity in the management and monitoring of the nation’s public financial system, leveraging on people and technology.
According to him, the reforms were in line with the anti-corruption stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, even as he listed them to include the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) accrual basis and the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIMFIS).
On the TSA, Idris described it as the most prominent of the reforms implemented by his office: “The policy is aimed at consolidating various government accounts in one single account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”
While acknowledging that the scheme was proposed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the AGF pointed out that it was not implemented until May 2015, when Buhari directed all ministries departments and agencies to comply with the scheme latest by September 15, 2015.
“With the TSA, all MDAs, which in the past operated multiple accounts, and in some cases, other fraudulent accounts were unable to do so. The policy has not only ensured government has a bird’s eye view of its resources, but also allowed paper trail of all transactions, payments, receipts, signatories and purpose of transactions. The policy has plugged revenue leakages and improved the public procurement process,” Idris said.
Another key reform being driven by the office of the AGF is the IPPIS, designed to provide a centralised payroll system for the public service.
Water: Water resources central to human, economic development – Perm Sec
From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Rabi Jimeta, has reiterated the importance of the ministry in the development imperatives of the country, stressing that no nation can afford to pay lip service to the institutional and infrastructural needs of the sector.
The permanent secretary, who spoke during a one-day retreat organised for journalists, explained that no serious nation that wants to overcome poverty and join the developed world would treat the water resources potential for economic development with levity.
Recounting the enormous potential of the sector, Jimeta said: “Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself.
“It is in cognisance of this reality that the present administration has been according the sector a very high degree of recognition.”
Prof. Chudi Uwazurike also threw light on the crucial need of water resources, hygiene and sanitation in driving development efforts of nations.
According to the scholar, water is vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, welfare and productivity of populations.
“It is central to the production and preservation of a host of benefits and services for people. Water is also at the heart of adaptation to climate change, serving as the crucial link between the climate system, human society and the environment,” he said.
NNPC: ‘Expect full rehabilitation of refineries in 2017’
From Uche Usim, Abuja
Hopes of steady supply of petroleum products in 2017 are high as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) plans a comprehensive rehabilitation of the nation’s three refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna to achieve optimal capacity utilisation in the new year.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of the three refineries in Abuja on Tuesday, the Chief Operating Officer, Refineries, NNPC, Mr. Anibor Kragha, stated that the corporation was determined to move away from the approach of quick fixes and undertake a comprehensive rehabilitation of the plants.
“The plan for next year is to get the comprehensive rehabilitation programme done. The situation is like having three cars in your garage that have not been maintained for 15 to 20 years while you expect optimal performance from them. Changing one fuel pump here, one compressor there is not helpful. What we are doing now is to step back and take a holistic approach and do a full rehabilitation of all the refineries,’’ Kragha said.
He noted that once the exercise was achieved, the refineries would draw up a chart for routine turnaround maintenance as and when due.
On the earlier plan to have other refineries co-located with the existing refineries, Kragha explained that though the plan was still on course, nonr of the projected co-location refineries would come on stream in 2017 based on the timeline for assemblage of the plants.
BoI: 96% of BoI loans repaid by SME owners – Olagunju
From Kemi Yesufu and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Acting Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Waheed Olagunju, yesterday disclosed that the bank recorded a 95 per cent performance rate with loans granted smal and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of an investigative hearing by the House of Representatives ad hoc Committee investigating activities of federal development finance institutions in Abuja, Olagunju expressed optimism that success of the bank’s clients has contributed to the growth of the economy.
On how the BoI has sustained its services, he said the bank, which is wholly self-funding, only gets intervention funds from the federal government via the Central Bank of Nigeria, which it disbursed to local investors.
“We got six-year intervention fund of N535 billion from the CBN, running from 2010. And the performance of our loans is 95 per cent, which is above the CBN threshold of 5 per cent and industry average of 11 per cent,” he said.
Olagunju added that the bank provides an enabling environment for businesses, with strong monitoring mechanism, as government alone cannot do all that it takes to revive the economy without the inputs of private sector operators.
NBS: Nigeria records N104bn negative trade balance
From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates that Nigeria’s external trade has slumped negatively due to imbalance between imports and exports even as the volume of imported agricultural products in the country rose by 33 per cent in the third quarter of the year (Q3 2016).
According to the report, raw materials import grew 60 per cent above the level in Q2, while imported solid minerals grew 68.5 per cent compared to the previous quarter.
In the report, the NBS explained that the value of manufactured exports was 21.86 per cent more than the record in Q2 while crude oil exports rose 30.86 per cent in Q3.
According to the report, Nigeria’s external trade totalled N4.72 trillion in Q3 and consisted of exports worth N2.30 trillion and imports valued at N2.41 trillion, indicating a slight negative trade balance of N104 billion while crude oil exports accounted for N1.94 trillion or 4.2 per cent of total trade during the period under review.
The total value of Nigeria’s external trade in the third quarter of 2016 was N4,721.9 billion, consisting exports worth N2,309 billion and imports worth N2,413 billion, a slight negative trade balance of N104 billion.
In total, the sector accounted for N1,944 billion, or 41.2 per cent of the total trade in the third quarter of 2016.