Steering Committee On IPPIS, Others Timely

<strong>Steering Committee On IPPIS, Others Timely</strong>

Following the plethora of criticisms trailing implementation of some financial strategies towards checking leakages in the nation’s internally generated revenue, the Federal Government only recently set up a Presidential Steering Committee to that effect.

 The steering committee to review the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System, IPPIS, the Treasury Single Account, TSA, Government Integrated Financial Management System, GIFMIS, over perceived irregularities is expected to plug various loopholes that have exposed the systems to abuses.

 Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami will chair the special committee which many Nigerians believe was long overdue.

In his remarks during the inauguration ceremony, Pantami confirmed that the systems have technical challenges which need to be corrected.

He said the singular mandate of the committee was to proffer solutions to the possible leakages inherent in the systems that are being exploited by unscrupulous individuals to divert public funds.

“On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, I am to inaugurate the Presidential technical committee.

“I am to inaugurate a technical Presidential Committee on Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System ,IPPIS, Government Integrated Financial Management Information System ,GIFMIS, and Treasury Single Account ,TSA.

From the benefit of hindsight, of these three ICT systems the first to be implemented was IPPIS the process of its deployment commenced in 2006 while for GISFMIS was deployed in 2012.With the TSA, having its process commence in 2015.

At the time they were deployed, the provision of NITDA Act 2006 under Section A, of setting the standardization of ICT deployment in federal public institutions was not followed. Because of this, these three systems were not subjected to government certification and IT project clearance as encouraged by law and many other government policies, the Minister averred.

It was revealed that in spite of the challenges, many achievements have been recorded by the deployment of these systems. Given reports from the relevant institutions of government, the IPPIS, saved over N120 billion naira for the government. While the TSA saved over N10 trillion even as there was no review time frame stated.

Notwithstanding the laudable enhancement of government financial status through the enormous savings from these deployments it was obvious that they have indeed been subjected to hitherto unanticipated manipulations in which billions of naira are believed to have leaked through.

The implementation of the Treasury Single Account ,TSA, was done without proper safeguards, the Registrar of the Chartered Institute of Treasury Management, CITM, Olumide Adedoyin disclosed recently while briefing journalists at the National Assembly, Abuja.

Mr Adedoyin said aside from the poor implementation; the back-end of the TSA was not properly secured. He added that the inability to secure the back-end is causing the government to lose money.

Mr Adedoyin called for continuous training and retraining of personnel handling the process.

“We discovered at the end of the day that there are some little challenges within that platform because the backend for the platform is not adequately secured.

He said the government ought not to have closed all existing accounts but link them to the TSA.

“They receive accounts on your behalf but you cannot disburse from those banks, while at the end of the day you just have an online real-time balance to make sure that what comes in is being accounted for”.

Given the Minister’s perspective, there is the need to identify where the challenges are and see how these systems can be enhanced technically so that the nation can consolidate on the gains achieved so far.

With the fresh impetus by the government to check the inherent leakages in the systems, it is our belief that it would usher in a new lease in the nation’s financial reserves.

It is salutary that the government has constituted the committee, involving other technical authorities, including NITDA, which mandates give it a leverage to serve as the secretariat.

We are equally excited by the government’s directive that all institutions that manage these three systems, IPPIS, GIFMIS and TSA, must give unlimited access to the committee to ensure that they come up with a very formidable recommendation.

We recall that the civil servants, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and others had faulted the implementation of IPPIS, TSA and GIFMIS over irregular deductions.

AljazirahNigeria believes the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Idris Ahmed who is currently facing persecution over alleged diversion of funds from TSA, IPPIS systems found the systems amenable to manipulation but such a tightening of the loopholes would no doubt forestall such in the future.

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