BY GLORIA USMAN, ABUJA – The Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) has declared that the Open Treasury Portal which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 9, 2019, was specifically aimed at enhancing transparency through the daily uploading of payments on the Treasury Portal of amount in excess of N5 million by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The OAGF explained that the daily payment reports do indicate the beneficiary, purpose of payment and the amount by the respective MDAs, stressing that this is the highest degree of transparency which had ever been implemented in this country.
These were contained in a statement by the Director Information, Press and Public Relations, Henshaw Ogubike in the OAGF, saying it is the responsibility of every MDA to give very clear and unambiguous description to the payments which are in turn electronically consolidated and uploaded on the Open Treasury Portal.
The OAGF stated these while refuting an allegation made by an Non-Governmental Orgnisation (NGO) on the aegis of Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), which alleged that the OAGF made payments of N173 billion without proper records and that the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) will face prosecution for this.
According to the report by the NGO, “these payments were analysed from the data obtainable from the Open Treasury Portal, adding that the payments totaling 1,353 were made between January and April, 2020 to various Ministries, Parastatals, Agencies and Educational Institutions.
But the OAGF said that the payments being referred to by the NGO that had been uploaded on the platform had correct classifications in the appropriate accounting and expenditure subhead from which consolidated financial statements, at the end of the year are audited by the Auditor-General for the Federation.
The OAGF further said; “Any observation on such transactions are always put together by the Auditor-General for the Federation and submitted to the Public Accounts’ Committee of the National Assembly which in turn calls on the respective Accounting Officer of the MDAs to come and defend or respond to such issues and observations”.
It also said that the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) that is presently in operation has clearly provided for sub-modules in which necessary descriptions relating to such expenditures are entered.
The OAGF emphasized that the Transparency Portal Policy launched by President Buhari on December 9, 2019 indicated that MDAs are responsible for every transaction and report uploaded to the portal.
It said that the Open Treasury Portal also provides online, real-time interaction with the general public to give clarifications to issues emanating from the uploaded transactions.
The OAGF advised members of the public to disregard the misinformation by (HEDA) adding that it will continue to ensure prudence, transparency and probity in all financial transactions and management.