Govt to spend N30million on iPad for FAAC members

Minister of state for Finance Yerima Ngama

The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) plans to spend about N30million to acquire IPADs and tablet PCs for to its members.

Although the plan had been on the cards since last year, Premium Times gathered that the actual purchase and distribution of the tablet computers to each of the over 100 members of the committee had to be delayed because some members had other preferences.

During the meeting of the committee held last week in Abuja, it was gathered that members drew the attention of the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, who is also the FAAC Chairman, to their resolution at the meeting of the Commissioners of Finance Forum to the effect that some of them would prefer PC tablets to the IPAD, which appears to be the fad among chief executives in Nigeria.

Mr. Ngama was reported to have asked members to forward the details of their preferences to the FAAC secretariat to facilitate the award of the contract for the supply of the equipment, which is expected to facilitate effective discharge of members’ responsibilities.

But, observers describe the plan as wasteful, as most of the intended beneficiaries do not need IPAD from FAAC to function effectively.

“Members of the FAAC do not need an IPAD to function effectively,” the President, Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG), George-Hill Anthony, said.

“Members of the FAAC are made up Commissioners of Finance and Accountants General of the 36 states of the federation as well as those in charge of finance in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).  They also include representatives of the revenue agencies like the Customs, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“Their responsibility is just to represent their constituencies in the sharing of the monthly allocations. All they require to discharge that function, including their transport, feeding, accommodation and general welfare, are already taken care of. All facilities to assist them discharge their duties are provided, including, if necessary, IPADs.

“If FAAC was looking for who to give IPADs, it would have made more sense sending them to some of our universities and even secondary schools that are in dire need of computers and educational facilities for learning. This is another clever way government officials steal from the annual budget.”

The going market price of the computer is between $600 and $850 (about N96,000 and N136,000). But, it was gathered that the committee plans to purchase the system for about N260,000 each for the 106 members at a total contract sum of almost N30million, including other logistics in the transaction.

“This is the amount of money that would be enough to provide about 100 boreholes to most communities without a reliable source of potable water in the Niger Delta currently suffering from the devastation of oil exploration that produces the money the committee gathers every month to share,” Mr. Anthony said.

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