Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
Following the agreement between the federal government and the organised labour on the new minimum wage consequential adjustments, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has directed the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, to work out the cost implication of the approved minimum wage.
Idris disclosed this yesterday when his team appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance for budget defence.
When asked to explain further why under personnel cost his budget has a variance of one per cent even with the new minimum wage, Idris stated, “as at the time we prepared this report and submitted to secretariat, negotiations were going on with the labour and it was just concluded it on Thursday. We had already submitted this and nobody could predict with some level of certainty what the increment would translate too.
“Now we are even under obligation to go and rework not just for our office, you know we manage the IPPIS, the Minister of Finance asked us to do some workings to show some cost implication of the increase.”
He also revealed that the performance of the 2019 budget of his office was 55 per cent, though he equally complained about paucity of funds.
The AGF noted that while the agency is in charge of releasing money to various MDAs, he said his office is also treated like any other MDAs of government.
“The federal pay offices in all the states of the federation are treated equally. That does not mean there are no variations in needs. For instance, there are offices in Ijora and Tafawa Balewa Square. Their needs are more than that of six states; now they need funding but the funds is not there, especially there office is dilapidated.
“We have done an assessment for the renovation of the building, but the money appropriated was reduced and we had to make do with what we were given.”
The chairman of the Committee, Hon. James Faleke, said the claim by the AGF that its 2019 budget performance was 50 per cent cannot stand due to conflicting figures presented in the document submitted by the AGF.
Despite the committee complaining about discrepancies in figures as presented by the AGF, which he equally admitted, the committee went ahead with the budget defence.
The committee also expressed concern about the template of giving the same treatment in terms of needs to their offices in the states, adding that it would be unfair to give offices in Lagos the same running cost with a To this end, Faleke said, “you are hereby directed the to submit capital releases to all MDAs up till October 31, 2019.”