FG restores open treasury portal, financial records for presidency, navy and MDAs are missing
Despite the restoration of the federal government’s open treasury portal, there are indications that some financial statements are missing.
The portal was restored a few days later Daily Trust exclusive report on its closure last week.
However, checks of the financial statements posted on the portal indicated that some records were missing, including those from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) which oversees the portal.
It was observed that there was no reporting of the daily financial statements of the Federal Government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for three consecutive years.
In another case, financial records on the “monthly budget performance” of several MDAs were not available on the portal.
The portal was launched in December 2019 to ensure transparency in public spending.
President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered MDAs to publish daily treasury summary statements of their financial records in excess of N5 million.
In addition, the AGF and all MDAs must publish monthly reports on budget execution, including their functions and economic activities, within seven days of the end of the month.
Our correspondent’s findings showed that the Presidency, OAGF, Nigerian Army (NA) and Nigerian Navy (NN) were among the critical players who failed to fully disclose their financial statements on the portal on Saturday.
Missing daily cash statements
The Federal Government’s “Daily Treasury Statement” on the portal only contained daily financial statements for the months of October, November and December 2018, with some daily transactions not captured; while those for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 were missing entirely.
Also, the federal government’s “Daily Payments Report” from January to August 2018 was missing. Similarly, financial documents from January 1 to January 28, 2020 and from January 1 to January 15, 2021 were not found.
In 2022, only records from January 1, January 23-31, and February 1-20 were disclosed. There were no financial documents from March and April 2022.
Daily MDA payment reports for 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 were not provided at all.
Missing monthly budget performance
The federal government’s “monthly fiscal performance” was missing from September 2021 to December 2021, and there was no record so far in 2022.
In addition, the monthly budget performance of the Office of the Special Counsel, Senior Special Assistants to the President, domiciled at State House, and that of the Office of the Special Counsel to the President for National Assembly Affairs (OSSAP-NASS) were all missing. throughout 2018. , 2019, 2020, 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.
No information was provided on the monthly budget performance of the Former Heads of State Affairs and the Ecological Funds Office in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.
In addition, in 2020, only the March, August, September and October budget performance of the Presidential (State House) air fleet has been revealed on the portal.
Similarly, the budget performance of the army and navy between October 2018 and December 2018 was inaccessible on the site.
The 2019 monthly budget performance of the Defence, NA and Nigerian Air Force (NAF) headquarters were not disclosed, and no information was provided on the 2020 monthly financial statements. Navy and the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA).
Curiously, the monthly budget performance of the Auditor General of the Federation and the Accountant General of the Federation was missing from October 2018 to December 2018.
Additionally, the May, June, July, August and December 2020 budget execution records from the Federation Auditor General were not found on the open treasury portal.
In 2020, only the November budget performance of the National Security Advisor (NSA) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) were available; while the Directorate of State Services (DSS) only disclosed budget performance for January and November 2020. There was no record of the monthly budget performance of the NSA, DSS, and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in 2021.
Similarly, no information was provided on the execution of the 2018 monthly budget of the Federal Ministry of Health; while those from July to December 2020 were not available.
Three-month records were also found to be missing from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) 2018 budget execution. Fiscal performance for April-July and September-December 2019 as well as July-December 2020 of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) was not accessible.
Missing General Purpose Annual Financial Statements
It is required that “audited financial statements of the federal government and all public sector entities within one month of the end of the first quarter of the following year” be posted on the portal.
However, only the 2013 and 2014 general purpose annual financial statements were accessible on the site. Although yearly records for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 were listed, attempts to download showed “page not found”.
When contacted to comment on the missing financial documents, Henshaw Ogubike, Director of Information, Press and Public Relations at the Accountant General’s Office, promised to find out and get back to our correspondent.
“I’ll find out if it’s true tomorrow and come back,” he said in a text message.
However, Ogubike did not respond to a follow-up text message asking him to visit the portal to verify Daily Trust’s findings.
On several occasions, the Federation’s Auditor General, Adolphus Aghughu, had raised concerns about discrepancies in MDAs’ financial statements.
In August 2021, Agughhu said MDAs failed to book a total sum of N4.97 trillion in 2019 after an audit of their financial statements. Additionally, in December 2021, the Auditor General questioned the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for spending N3.809 billion on the suspended rural grazing areas program without Presidential approval or National Assembly appropriation.
In June 2020, a civic advocacy group, BudgIT, identified gaps in the open cash portal and called for the system to be improved.
Damilola Ogundipe, Head of Communications at BudgIT, said in a statement that while the platform is innovative and commendable, there is still a long way to go for it to fully achieve its goal of enabling public transparency and accountability.
BudgIT, in a report titled: “OpenTreasury.gov.ng: Nigeria’s Spending Platform: Review, Gaps & Recommendations”, analyzed data uploaded to the portal from September 2018 to May 2020.
The group said it analyzed more than 100,000 payment entries from more than 600 separate spreadsheets.
Between January and July 2019, BudgiT said it discovered that large sums were paid into personal accounts; including several records with vague descriptions.
He said: “Over 2,900 payments to individuals have been recorded with an aggregate value of N51 billion. Some examples include N2.04bn, N2.04bn and N1bn paid into personal accounts on June 21, 2019, without any payment description with another payment of N68m for ‘Ogunsuyi’ and N15.8m for ‘international’ on other dates .
“During the same year 2019, we also discovered payment records without descriptions or recipient information. At least 5,000 payment records worth N278 billion were without description, and 275 payment records worth N43 billion were without beneficiary names.
Therefore, BudgIT concluded that “these discrete payments cannot be assessed or tracked by citizens and interested parties, thus defeating the platform’s goal of fostering transparency.”