On Monday, December 9, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the ‘Financial Transparency Policy’ which is supposed to “enthrone transparency and accountability in public financial management” in the public service.
The new policy mandates the publication of “public financial information through an Open Treasury Portal.”
According to the presidency, the transparency policy mandates the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) and all accounting officers of the federal government of Nigeria “to publish daily reports of payments of at least N10million, while all MDAs (Ministries, Departments, Agencies) must publish payments above N5million—of all public funds under their purview.”
The Policy also directs that all MDAs must publish:
—Monthly budget performance reports, which must be ready within 7 days after the end of each month.
—Monthly fiscal accounts detailing fiscal performance of the Nigerian government within 14 days after the end of each month.
“The policy also requires the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) and all Accounting Officers of MDAs to publish Quarterly Financial Statements for the Nigerian government as a whole and for individual MDAs respectively.
“The policy requires the AGF to publish Annual General Purpose Financial Statement, while all public sector entities are required to publish for their individual entities.
“These Statements must be prepared following International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).”
How does this policy affect MDAs and you?
Corruption and kickbacks are endemic and prevalent in the federal civil service and in ministries. This policy would make stealing from the public treasury doubly difficult if fully implemented.
When you have to publish statements of account and publish what you spent N5million or N10million on every other day, the urge to steal from the treasury naturally begins to wane.
By compelling ministries, departments and agencies to submit “monthly budget performance reports, which must be ready within 7 days after the end of each month” and “monthly fiscal accounts detailing fiscal performance of the Nigerian government within 14 days after the end of each month,” the president is tightening the purse strings some more while also ensuring that each department is forced to perform optimally within available resources.
If fully and dutifully implemented, President Buhari’s new financial transparency policy would curb wanton corruption in public procurement in the civil service, cut down on waste, imbue a modicum of transparency in government operations, plug financial leakages and usher an era of better service delivery and efficiency from government agencies.