N9bn AEPB Debt: HoS Warns MDAs of First Line Charge Deduction

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By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Mrs. Ekanem Oyo-Ita, has warned Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) found to be indebted to the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) that they risk having a chunk of their overhead expenditure deducted from the first line charge should they fail to settle their outstanding debts to the board.

The gross liability owed the AEPB by the government institutions is put at N9 billion.

Oyo-Ita issued this threat when the members of the Ministerial Task Team on the recovery of the debt led by Baba Shehu Lawan visited her office.

She kicked against the practice where MDAs owing the AEPB, saying the expenses ought to have been fully catered for in their annual overhead budgetary expenditures.

The HoS disclosed that a committee would be set up to comprise members from her office and FCT Administration to negotiate with the erring MDAs to reconcile and pay the outstanding debts.

Citing similar understanding that her office had with the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to deduct at first line charge all indebtedness by government institutions to the company, she said she would have no hesitation in writing the budget office to authorise same arrangement, should the MDAs fail to defray their indebtedness to the AEPB.

“We want to convey a very strong message to all the MDAs under the office of HoS that the ministries and various parastatals, if efforts are not made to clear these debts by the next overhead allocation, we will have no other option than to ask the budget office to make deductions at first charge,” Oyo-Ita said.

Lawan noted that the FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, constituted the Special Task Team when the FCT Administration realised it was unable to offset its rising indebtedness to the companies it had contracted to provide services.

He emphasised that due to the dwindling revenues accruing to the FCTA, the administration was finding it very difficult to settle these bills, which he said amounted to more than N200 million per month.