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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Stay Off Contracts – Buhari Warns Incoming Ministers

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President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly issued a warning to members of his incoming cabinet to keep their hands off the approval of payments for contracts, adding that only Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies were permitted to carry out such activities.

Availing this was the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF), Danladi Kifasi, who at a media briefing in Abuja enthused that the new president plans to keep the political class from handling financial matters.

He said:If a minister travels out and payment is due, we cannot afford to wait for the ministers to come back before we pay.”

Vanguard further revealed that Kifasi was instructed on make the announcement as reports emerged that there were clash of interests between Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Government and Former Ministers in the past administration over the payment of contractors as the ex-ministers reportedly refused to pay the contractors they had favoured.

Kifasi explained further: “The President has said that his administration will concentrate on policy issues and so we civil servants are re-directing our efforts and minds towards achieving or aligning with the president’s directive.

“Payments are normally approved by the accounting officers. In a parastatal, it is either the managing director or the director-general. In the ministry it is the permanent secretary and not the minster.

“In the procurement process, ministers do not approve either. It is the Ministerial Tenders Board that sits to consider and approve contracts within their approval threshold. If it is beyond the Board, it goes to the Federal Executive Council.

“The only thing a minister does is that he signs the council memo for the procurement that goes to the Federal Executive Council. For the Ministerial Tenders Board which is usually chaired by the Permanent Secretary; the Permanent Secretary sends his report and the minutes of the tenders board to the minister for his concurrence and endorsement. That is their role

“For instance, if ministers were asked to be approving payments, now that there are no ministers will work then stop? So it is actually a misinformation.”

“Consequently, permanent secretaries, Directors, Chief executives of parastatals and agencies are to take appropriate steps to address this situation. All public servants are to note that measures as enshrined in the Public Service Rules will be enforced on erring officers.”

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