The Nigerian government says it saved over N37 billion by identifying and correcting the improper actions of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
These actions include misapplications, deliberate mistakes and non-compliance with the approved template for settlement of claims by the MDAs.
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, said the amount covered the period from May 2017, when President Muhammadu Buhari approved the setting aside of N10 billion every month to offset backlog of promotion arrears, to date.
He said the fraud was uncovered by an in-house committee inaugurated in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) following the presidential directive to verify MDAs’ claims and submissions.
A statement by the spokesperson of the OAGF, Oise Johnson, did not provide further details of the MDAs culpable in the scandal.
The statement quoted Mr Idris as saying the committee has so far paid about N42 billion out of the N55 billion released by the government for the settlement of MDAs claims, with about N13 billion in cash still outstanding.
Mr Johnson sàid a total of N35 billion is yet to be released to the office by the government.
Mr Johnson said the accountant-general reassured civil servants in the country of the commitment of OAGF to the continued payment of promotion arrears owed federal civil servants in line with President Buhari’s directives.
Mr Idris gave the assurance in Abuja when he received the National Executive of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria in his office.
He also promised to raise the concerns of the association to the supervising minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, and the Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.
Apart from ensuring that the government continues to keep its part of the agreement with the association, he said this will ensure continued industrial harmony in the country.
He commended the leadership of the association for their understanding and support in the implementation of the government’s plans and programmes.
According to him, without industrial harmony, no meaningful development can be achieved in the economy.
Mr Idris also commended the OAGF’s arm of the association for its understanding and support.
He assured the civil servants of the continued commitment of his office to the improvement of the welfare of the staff through the implementation of people-oriented programmes.
In his remarks, the National Vice President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Bola Innocent, who represented the president, extolled Mr Idris for his professionalism in handling workers welfare.
He said the association is proud of Mr Idris’s “achievements and contributions to nation-building.”
He said their visit was necessitated by recent developments over the payment of outstanding promotion, salaries, and other arrears owed civil servants.
He said the failure of the government to continue to honour the agreement signed in May 2017 may lead to industrial unrest.