Defence ministry backs plan to audit military payroll
700 MDAs on GFMIS, about 400 on IPPIS
Ndubuisi Francis and Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government has disclosed its plan to migrate the military and paramilitary payroll to Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) before the end of the year.
The IPPIS is one of the federal government’s financial management reform initiatives introduced by the previous administration, which is aimed at improving the management of human resources and eliminate fraud in the public service.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who spoke in Abuja yesterday at a meeting between Defence Ministry officials, top personnel of the Armed Forces and the Continuous Audit Team of the federal government, noted that one of the new initiatives of the administration was to continue with programmes that plug leakages in the system, adding that the payroll was of particular interest.
“And we have, as you know, had some challenges about the report carried out about the payroll of the Armed Forces. We do have a plan to put all the military and paramilitary in our IPPIS before the end of the year.
“In the interim, we just know that it is necessary to respond to the allegations and revelations of the excesses on the payroll. We want to investigate whether or not it was true and to ensure and assess that whatever excesses we find, we block them and those linkages so that in future, it will be effective and adequate.
“I think that is how it’s felt for those who are there. They have to be reassured, otherwise there is a level of suspicion over those who are still making things done. So, it is about this that I discussed with the Minister and the Permanent Secretary (Defence) on the need to continuously retain and do some work with the military, so that we can through this ensure that every naira that is going to the military for their payroll is actually valid and is being spent for the purpose that it is being expected,” Adeosun said.
She expressed appreciation to the Ministry of Defence for its cooperation on the matter, adding that while she was preparing to embark on the exercise, they even spearheaded the initiative and approached her, requesting for the audit.
At the meeting yesterday, the Ministry of Defence expressed total support for the ongoing move by the federal government to audit the payroll of the military, including those of the Army, Air Force and Navy as consultations commenced between government officials and top military personnel.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Mr. DanjumaNanpon Sheni, who spoke to journalists in Abuja after a session of consultations between defence officials and the Continuous Audit Team of the federal government, preparatory to the impending audit of military payroll, said his ministry was in total support of the initiative.
The audit, he noted, had become inevitable in order to usher in integrity and transparency to the payroll of the armed forces.
“The first point that I want to make is that this initiative would not have come at a better time. As the minister of finance just mentioned to you, both the Minister of Defence and I have been particularly concerned with the advice both in the papers about certain activities concerning the payroll of the armed forces.
“And they have actually begun a process and the process was brought to the Minister of Finance and we are very comfortable that appropriate actions are being taken here today.
“We have no doubt in our minds that this initiative will rather bring integrity and transparency to the personnel payroll of the armed forces and therefore, I speak on behalf of the Minister of Defence when I say we are fully supportive of this initiative; not just the ministry, but the services.
“I speak on their behalf too, including the services; the Army, Navy and the Air Force are fully on board in this one. It is an initiative that we welcome proactively and we look forward to the conclusions as soon as possible of this committee’s work.
“Ultimately, I think it is better for the Armed Forces, the ministry and the country. I think I will leave it at that for now. Minister, we are fully in support of these services,” the Permanent Secretary said.
In his remarks, the Director, Special Projects and Head, Continuous Auditing Team of the ministry, Mohammed Dikwa, said the meeting was in line with the government’s directives to audit payrolls and review, where necessary, and also improve the integrity and efficiency of the payrolls.
Dikwa disclosed that trainings had been organised for the military accounting officers to get acquainted with the workings of the IPPIS, which the Federal government is determined to bring the three services to be part of.
According to him, about 700 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are on Government Financial Information Management System (GFMIS), which aims to implement a single government financial system to support the financial administration process.
The IPPIS is one of the federal government’s financial management reform initiative which is aimed at improving the management of human resources and eliminate fraud in the public service, he said, has about 400 MDAs already captured in the platform.
Apart from the desire to achieve efficiency and the integrity in accounting system of all MDAs, Dikwa stated that the government was also intent on reducing the cost of governance considering the sliding oil prices at the international market.
The present administration, he added, was not comfortable that over 70 per cent of government’s revenue is being spent on cost of governance, while less that 30 per cent is left for capital projects.
Adeosun had last weekend directed an investigation into the armed forces payroll, including that of the Air Force, Navy and the Army by the Continuous Audit Team of the federal government.
The directive followed revelations arising from the ongoing trial of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, that the sum of N558.2 million was allegedly diverted monthly from the Nigeria Air Force account, into private pockets.