You probably have seen the post written by Prince Charles Ekanem IV titled “still on the Commissioner for Finance”.
The sentiment is obvious. His claims are bogus.
According to Mr. Charles, Cross River State Government spend a whopping N1.3B in contract sum to develop her SIFMIS platform.
His claim reminded me of former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola and his N78.3M website contract and everything that followed the scandal. I think it is wrong to use terminologies and concepts to misinform the public. I may not know it all. However, I will say a few things to give an insight to Charles’ claim and allow you to see if his assertions are true or false.
Many of us are not trained Accountants, Economists or Development Experts but that is not to say that we are unaware of best international practices.
I will start by asking a question and then proceed to answer the question.
What is SIFMIS?
SIFMIS is an acronym = State Integrated Financial Management Information System. It is a public sector IT solution developed for seamless Government financial transactions and to ensure transparency and accountability in government circle.
Let’s replace SIFMIS with GIFMIS where the G stands for every Government on earth, be it Federal or sub national. It might be used interchangeably. The GIFMIS platform is a robust Government financial information system where payment to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) are uploaded.
Signed warrant from the office of the Minister of Finance or Commissioner for Finance to MDAs are uploaded for spending by the MDA. All warrant from Overhead, Capital and Personnel warrant information are supposed to be on the platform.
Question: Is this the practice in Cross River State?
For proper supervision, the IT solution is designed to be hosted by the office of the Commissioner for Finance but managed by the Office of the Accountant General of that Government.
Information ranging from budget preparation to implementation are on the platform. The platform is robust and also includes a module or window for procurement.
Question: Is this the case in Cross River State?
The platform also captures all Government asset as located in each MDA. This allows for easy tracking of Government asset in line with Global Government Policy of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) accrual accounting which is being implemented the world over.
These standards are based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), subsidiaries of the World Bank.
Question: can you say the above is practiced in Cross River State?
Answer: Yes, but during previous administration. No for Governor Ayade administration.
The system allows for audit trail of Government receipts and payments and allows for financial transparency in transactions.
All third party payment to clients and contractors are done automatically and tax collection from contractors can be easily traced by the Government Tax collector like the FIRS or State Inland Revenue Service.
In Nigeria, the platform has links to the Systemspecs Remita platform where payment made from the Remita platform can also be view by MDA.
I mean a staff of Ministry XYZ can view what Ministry BCDF is doing from the comfort of his home unhindered and from anywhere in the world. In all, if all the module or window are implemented, it will help in ensuring financial transparency and curb corruption in public service.
It is possible that the Cross River State Government might have developed the said IT solution but it is yet to be deployed for optimal use or not in use at all.
I decided to make this explanation as a feedback in support of the patriotic people of Cross River State who are doing their little to interrogate our political leaders objectively for good governance.
I hope one or more persons finds the information useful. I am happy to review a counter or alternative narrative. At the end, we want a better Cross River State.
Otu Otu Ita is a Cross Riverian and writes from Abuja.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Otu Otu Ita and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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