By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has launched an Asset Tracking and Management Project (ATMProject), a mechanism designed to enable it locate, identify, assess and evaluate all its moveable and fixed assets.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosu, who unfolded this new initiative at the weekend, also disclosed that a central asset register would be created and domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance for recording the actual quantity, value, condition and location of all the capital assets belonging to the federal government.
Under the International Public Sector reporting Standard (IPSAS), government is expected to record both its assets and liabilities.
The Assets Tracking and Management Project and the creation of the Assets Register are new initiatives of the ministry, designed to enhance accountability, promote transparency and deepen efficiency in line with the change mantra of the current administration.
“For the first time, a Central and Unified National Database of Assets (Asset Register) would be generated and maintained for the purpose of recording, tracking and managing the huge investments in capital assets owned by government,” Adeosun said in a statement issued by the ministry’s Director of Information, Salisu Na’inna Dambatta.
According to her, “The Asset Tracking exercise and Register will make planning and control easier and improve accountability for assets. With the increased allocation to capital expenditure to 30 per cent, it is important that all assets are recorded and accounted for. Where disposals occur, they must be in line with the laid down procedures and must be transparent.”
She explained further that the Asset Register would avail the government the opportunity to know and monitor in real time, online information on the inventory of its assets.
A project coordinator, she said, had been appointed by her for the immediate take-off of the Asset Tracking and Management Project and the creation of the first Central Assets Register for the federal government.
However, the identity and details of the project coordinator were not provided.
Meanwhile, a circular signed by Adeosun has been dispatched to all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) requesting their accounting officers to prepare an inventory of all fixed assets held as at December 31, 2016, to facilitate physical verification by the project team.
The circular further requested all heads of MDAs “to ensure that any assets held by current and former staff are fully accounted for,” adding: “In this regard, you may find it necessary to contact any former staff and/or political office holders to avail them the opportunity to return relevant assets in their possession.”
The circular emphasised that “all inventory records submitted will be cross-checked to capital releases and project account purchases to ensure completeness. Where assets have been sold or otherwise disposed of, they must be recorded with supporting authorization for sale and evidence of payment, where applicable”.
The circular drew the attention of Heads of MDAs to Chapter 26 of the Financial Regulations, with regards to disposal of assets and warned that “any asset not accessible for physical inspection and not disposed of in accordance with financial requirements will be deemed to have been illegally withheld or converted”.
It advised them to record such assets so as to enable the investigative agencies to be notified.
The records of the assets disposed are to cover the last five years and all accounting officers of the MDAs are to submit their reports not later than three weeks from the date of receipt of the circular.
The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) had recently delivered 40 vehicles to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. It recovered them from some retired directors of the ministry.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) similarly announced the recovery of 40 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) from a retired permanent secretary who served in the Federal Ministry of Power.