NEED FOR DATA COLLECTION AND STATISTICAL INFORMATION SPACE IN GOVERNMENT

The bu d g e t presentation for the 2021 Fiscal year, by the State Governor, Sen. (Prof) Ben Ayade shows clearly that he is committed to ensuring that the present administration offers its best for the people of the State. More so, from the point that government is shifting the paradigm from general service- delivery to the primary option of feeding the people. We see clearly that we are going through a situation where our challenges are staring directly on our face,thereby, making us “drift away from our kinetic crystallization, our olympotic agenda and reducing ourselves to a sudden consumptive primitivistic efforts just to reflect on the mood of the time”. But all hope is not lost and we are energized that Governor Ayade has again,reiterated his stand for putting food on the people’s table, expanding government and just ensuring that citizens are happy with assured hope, particularly, for the youth.
This is indeed, very commendable, especially, as it is coming at a time that the Federal Government, World Bank and other Stakeholders are carrying out a National Business Sample Census (NBSC) in all the 36 States of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The exercise which is headed by the Federal Commissioner, Revenue Mobilization Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Muhammed Kabeer Usman has been conducted in the South South geo-political Zone.
It dwelt on the sensitization and delivery of advocacy messages to State Governments in the Zone, on the need for accurate data keeping and statistical information at all times. The objectives of the Census included among others, to develop a national directory o f c o m m e r c i a l establishments with the associated social and economic characteristics, as well as, provide the country with comprehensive and detailed information about the structure of the economy.

“…we can all agree to the fact that, constant and consistent data and statistics can make the dreams and vision of our dynamic digital Governor come true, and become apt, even in the face of daunting challenges”

A close look at the outcome of the visit calls to mind, the article 1 wrote in 2018 “A time to plant, a time to harvest”. I was optimistic that as Cross Riverians, we would reap from the bountiful harvest in the programmes and policies that the State Governor, Sen. (Prof) Sir Ben Ayade has passionately planted for the benefit of the people of the State. “All that we required as a people was just patience, and of course, patience is all that we still need, even as we must also watch closely and judge fairly in this unquenching desire to reap from the Ayade’s administration”.
However, in so doing, there is need also for a closer look at a proper data-gathering from all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDGs) in the State. The need for availability and use of data cannot be over emphasized given that, it helps in proper policy formation and developmental planning.The State Governor has already set the tone for a bountiful harvest. But if we, as a State must develop and begin to reap bountifully from the Ayade’s administration, we would reason that there is indeed, an urgent need for all the MDAs to have proper and accurate data and statistics. This is one sure way of successfully driving the programmes and policies of the State with impressive results. The Federal Commissioner’s visit was very timely, as it further educated the MDAs and other stakeholders in the State that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of each State and Local Government must be realistic as provided in the Audited Accounts, while the Audited Accounts should be prepared and duly signed by the Auditor- General of the State and the AuditorGeneral of the Local Governments. All revenue figures must be properly captured in the relevant sub-heads, IGR must be constant with the data published by the Joint Task Board (JTB) and Annual Statement of Accounts (ASA). While explaining on this, Usman explained that data from Local Government on primary school’s environment should be in strict consonance with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) figures and must not be outrageous submissions. This applies also, to Secondary / Technical school environment. Also, Ministry of Health must submit beds in hospitals and Primary Health Centres, in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) standard. Judging from the above, we can all agree to the fact that, constant and consistent data and statistics can make the dreams and vision of our dynamic digital Governor come true, and become apt, even in the face of daunting challenges. Accurate data and statistics collection remain key to the development of our State in particular, and the nation in general. Even businesses thrive where accurate data and statistics remain the order of business.
Therefore, it is pertinent to know that more meaning would be added to the development strides of Sir Ben Ayade, who has, in the course of time, ensured that all the 18 Local Government Areas of the State have had more than one infrastructure sighted in their domains. This is indeed, the right step in the right direction. It would be creating more jobs opportunities across the State. This is commendable. In the spirit of an Entrepreneur and International businessman, his administration, hinged on industrialization drive would indeed, bring forth the desired bountiful harvest, and much more, with the creation of functional space for the provision of accurate data and statistics, as we enthusiastically watch him set up more projects and infrastructure in the State.

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AYADE: A Time to Plant, A Time to Harvest

… we must watch patiently and judge fairly in our desire to benefit from Ayade’s leadership. The popularly acclaimed digital Governor has already set the tone for a bountiful harvest…

Any successful farmer would easily attest to the fact that the journey to a bountiful harvest follows prescribed procedure. Depending on the kind of crop under contemplation for planting, the process would begin with clearing and probably burning the grass. This would be preceded by marking the desired portion for planting. Would therefore proceed to make heaps (for yam, cassava or even pineapple). If need be, fertilizer is applied after the desired crop is buried in the heap. For yam famers, there is a long period to tend the farm, including weeding of grass, mounting of sticks and pecks to hold the sprouting flowers from the buried seedlings. As is common in our State, Cross River, the process for general planting, especially yam and cassava begins around October or November the previous year, culminating in harvesting from July/August of the current year.  the emphasis here is that it requires careful planning, meticulous supervision and great patience to reap a fruitful and bountiful harvest. In many ways, farming is like politics and leadership. A successful politician must be tactful in selecting the right party (land) and the proper position (crop). Leadership is not too different; apart from relying on personal endowment to be a successful leader, the latter needs followers to play vital roles for him to succeed; he needs to make his people to be patient, tolerant and unquestionably supportive.

Indeed, the most important virtue required of a true followership is patience, which is a germane requirement even in case of farming, as the farmer has to wait for the crop to mature before harvesting. This is what is expected from us as Cross Riverians; we must watch patiently and judge fairly in our desire to benefit from Ayade’s leadership. The popularly acclaimed digital Governor has already set the tone for a bountiful harvest as overtly demonstrated in the programmes and policies already initiated for the benefit of the State. the list is lengthy, but we can outline a few to include, the garment factory which has been completed and now operational, the rice seedlings multiplication factory recently commissioned by President Buhari, the cocoa processing facilities at Ikom, the deep sea, proposed super highway among others. These are lofty initiatives intended to move Cross River State to higher heights. But, these projects would take time to take off, which is why we all need to be patient. Their impact would be felt only when they become operational. And until Cross Riverians begin to feel the full impact of these projects, it would appear as if the Governor and indeed the incumbent government is under performing. Let us, therefore as Cross Riverians adopt the attitude of the patient farmer – wait for the crops to yield and mature before harvesting.

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Good Treasury Management … Imperative to Public Accountability

 

Our discourse on Treasury Management here is from the perspective of government treasury operations which involves book-keeping, accounting, auditing and management functions and then relating these functions to public accountability in government. It is treated here as it affects the public sector entity only, though some of the functions/activities, may be the same with those in the private sector.

TREASURY MANAGEMENT

Treasury Management in government could be said to be the strings of coordinated actions which have to be taken to ensure that all revenue accruing to government is properly and promptly collected and recorded, and that all expenditures are ‘necessarily’ and ‘reasonably’ incurred for the purposes for which they are meant. The cardinal objective here is to ensure that funds are not mismanaged or misappropriated.

By the provisions of Chapter 1, Part ll, Section 106 of the Federal Financial Regulations, (Revised to January, 2009), the Accountant General is the head of Government Accounting Service and the head of the treasury. By section 107(a) of the said Financial Regulation, the Accountant General serves as the Chief Accounting Officer for the receipts and payments of government. The Accountant General performs other vital Treasury

Management functions as specified in section 107 (a-q) of the Financial Regulations. The treasury management functions include receipt and custody of government funds, disbursement of government funds and financial statements preparation and analysis. All Government revenue are normally lodged into the Government Revenue Accounts. The revenue heads  include:  (i) Statutory Revenue from Federation Account; (ii) VAT (Value Added Tax); (iii) Other revenue like share of excess crude, oil mineral, etc.

These classes of revenue are received directly from CBN into the Statutory Recurrent and VAT Accounts maintained for that purpose. All Statutory Expenditures like salaries, pension and gratuity, overheads and capital expenditure are disbursed from these accounts. (iv) Other classes of revenue include the Internally Generated Revenue, PAYE TAX, revenue generated from school fees and all other types of revenue generated by the Internal Revenue Services are lodged in appropriate accounts in different banks and immediately swept into the Consolidated Revenue Account also known as Ministerial Single Account (MSA). It is used to fund pressing financial demand of government on daily basis. All disbursement of government funds is made through payment voucher duly authorized by the appropriate authority, well prepared, processed and passed for payment. Different classes of vouchers include Recurrent Vouchers, Remittance Vouchers and contract vouchers for capital projects.

One of the most important Treasury Management functions is the preparation of financial Statements and analysis. The office of the State Accountant General produces its financial Statements using the ORACLE E-BUSINESS SUITE.

PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY IN GOVERNMENT

Public Accountability in Government means that the public officials have an obligation to explain their decisions and actions to the citizens. Accountability involves answerability and enforcement. Government accountability is achieved through strict compliance or observance of the regulatory framework designed to prevent corruption and ensure that public officials remain answerable and accessible to the people they serve.

To ensure Public Accountability in government, Treasury Management is guided by various regulatory frameworks. These include the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999; The Finance (Control and Management) Act of 1958; Audit Act of 1956; Financial Regulations, Revised to 2009; Appropriation Act/Law; Treasury Letters/Circulars; Gazette; Public Service Rules; International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). Other legislations include Fiscal Responsibility, Public Procurement, State/ Public Finance Management and Debt Management laws.

“All hands must therefore be on deck in the fight against corrupt practices while public office holders need to collaborate with other public functionaries to observe due process in public finance management.“

 

 

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