September 22, 2020
News Analysis

Examining Federal Government’s Proposal on Open Financial Transaction

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari gave an assurance that with various reforms by his regime, all government financial transactions will soon be done in the open.

According to President Buhari, the objective is to ensure transparency in governance through mainly information technology platforms especially government financial transactions.

The president noted that the aim is to ensure that no government financial transaction is done in secret to subject them to public scrutiny.

The federal government embarked on some innovations to deepen transparency and accountability in public finance management. 

The office of the Accountant General of the federation, ministries, department, and agencies among its functions is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring transparency and accountability.

By this, a summary of revenue coming in and going out will be published daily on an online portal.

According to the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Tayo Alasoadura, this would ensure that all government financial transactions were made available to the public and the media, in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2014. 

It is heartwarming that all MDAs are expected to publish the monthly performance of their budget, functions and economic activities; while the AGF will publish monthly fiscal accounts, detailing the fiscal performance of the federation, including receipts from all the revenue collection agencies and payments out of the federation account.

It was discovered that the government’s inability to trace its funds and expenditure facilitates the continual looting of public treasury. 

Without a doubt, if this initiative had been in place before the allegation made by former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido that twenty billion naira oil revenue was missing at a time such would have been avoided.

It is, therefore, imperative that this policy should be enacted into law as advised by the House of Representatives.

This should include maximal severe sanctions against violators as done in the United States of America, where public funds were put under constant surveillance.

The country cannot afford to ignore these international best practices for the overall development of the country.

Good governance is every citizen’s business, therefore all eyes especially those of the civil society, the media and taxpayers must call the government to account for how public funds are being spent.

This is how citizens of developed countries of the world are able to hold their leaders accountable for any public fund spent.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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