Written by Austine ELEMUE

FCT Minister reads riot act to directors, ’no more arbitrary imprest’

In a move to cut cost and entrench accountability, the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Mallam Mohammed Bello, has come told directors and heads of units that no more flouting of the Annual General Imprest Warrant by officers of the administration. 

He specifically warned that no more arbitrary imprest by the directors and heads of units, even as he has directed all affected officers to comply with the Procurement Act and Financial Regulations by all secretariats, departments and agencies, SDAs, of the FCTA. 

The directive, contained in a circular dated December 7, 2015 and signed by the permanent secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye, reads in part: "I write to draw the attention of all SDAs to the provisions of the Procurement Act, Financial Regulations and the circular Ref: No. TRY/A2&B2/2010/OAF/CAD/026V dated 12th May, 2010 from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

"It has been observed that many SDAs approve cash advance for procurement above the sum of N200, 000.00 which contravenes the Financial Regulations, Procurement Act.

"For the avoidance of doubt all SDAs should note that any procurement above the sum of N200, 000.00 should follow the due process prescribed by the Procurement Act and the Financial Regulations." 

However, investigation by our correspondent has revealed that before the directive, accounting officers in the FCT administration collected imprest on a monthly basis as against the quarterly reimbursement stipulated by law.

An inside source, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said; “in 2010 there was a directive from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation stating that the frequency of reimbursement of any standing imprest shall normally be once in a quarter and shall not exceed twice in a quarter where the need arises.

“But in FCT, the frequency of reimbursement was on a monthly basis and some accounting officers collect imprest above their limit." 

It would be recalled that the Annual General Imprest Warrant for 2010 was signed by the Hon. Minister of Finance in accordance with the provisions of Financial Regulations (FR No. 1003). 

The 2010 Annual General Imprest Warrant stipulates that all accounting officers in the three arms of government, including ministries, extra-ministerial offices and agencies are authorized to approve funds to eligible imprest holders.

However, the limit of reimbursable imprest shall be as follows: minister is N300, 000, permanent secretary and Directors General are entitled to N200, 000, directors/heads of department N100, 000.00, while head of formations in each state and any other authorized imprest holder is entitled to N60, 000 only

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