From Uche Usim, Abuja
Challenged by the paucity of funds amid competing national priorities, members of the Technical Sub-committee on Cash Management (TSCM) of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation have begun a three-day retreat aimed at addressing critical issues posing a great challenge to Public Financial Management in Nigeria.
Speaking at the opening session of the retreat themed “Advancing the Operational Efficiency for Effective Liquidity and Cash Management in Nigeria: Beyond Rhetoric”, the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Idris Ahmed, advised the sub-committee members to up their game as the traditional rule of the thumb and/or cash rationing approach cannot drive Nigeria’s economy.
According to him, there are ever-increasing pressures on government funds; and as managers of the funds, they must avoid paying lip service in the administration of the funds.
‘I feel a great sigh of relief that critical issues posing a great challenge to Public Financial Management practices are certainly up for discussion at this gathering,’ he said.
‘The objective of this Retreat; improving on the capacities of stakeholders with a view to getting them more acquainted with emerging liquidity and cash management techniques entails that, we all must seek, at all times, the knowledge that will keep us afloat in giving the right advises on cash management at the right time. Managing funds is not just about expending the available funds. We must constantly keep ourselves abreast with the strategies for knowing how to ensure inflows, when to expend and when not to; and as well be able to forecast into the unforeseeable future, the cash needs of the government and the possible challenges,’ Mr Ahmed explained.
He urged the sub-committee to strive towards coming up with the strategies that will help in establishing the roles of stakeholders towards operationalizing the bottom-up cash management policy.
‘All stakeholders should see the policy as our policy. This, if fully adopted and applied, will greatly help in: ensuring that sufficient cash is available to the government as and when needed to meet commitments to make payments.
‘Controlling aggregate cash flows within fiscal, monetary and legal limits, improving the management of government’s domestic borrowing program, as well as facilitating investment of excess or idle cash.
‘Upholding greater accountability for public expenditure as well as supporting budget execution and efficient resource allocation, supporting macro-economic policy of Government and ensuring efficient and cost effective public service delivery that accords value for money and enabling financing arrangements to be made in advance in order to meet cash shortages,’ Mr Ahmed added.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director Funds at the OAGF, Mr Sabo Mohammed, said that the TSCM functions remain very critical to treasury management.
‘For instance, it obtains stakeholders’ inputs, deliberate on them and makes proposals for approval for the payment of Personnel Costs, Pension and Gratuities as well as Statutory Transfers to the Federal Cash Management Committee (FCMC).
‘The sub-committee has effectively been carrying out this responsibility since inauguration in April, 2016; and has positively and significantly impacted on the ease in payment of personnel-related costs. Our retreat objective is to seek ways of improving on the capacities of stakeholders with a view to getting them more acquainted with emerging liquidity and cash management techniques,’ he noted.
The TSCM has institutional members like the Budget Office of the Federation, Debt Management Office (DMO), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others.