As the world battles with economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Accountant-General of the Federation AGF), Ahmed Idris, has advocated an efficient management of government funds.
He noted that at present there is increasing pressure on government funds, a situation he said makes it imperative for managers of government funds to evolve strategies and promote useful knowledge that would guarantee efficient cash management.
Idris stated this in a keynote address at the 2021 retreat for members of the technical sub-committee on cash management held at Gora, Nasarawa State.
The technical sub-committee on cash management, inaugurated in April 2016, is the professional arm of the federal cash management committee. Among other functions, the technical sub-committee obtains stakeholders’ inputs, deliberates on them and makes proposals to the federal cash management committee for approval, regarding the payment of personnel costs, pension/gratuities as well as statutory transfers.
The AGF noted that the theme of the retreat, ‘Advancing the operational efficiency for effective liquidity and cash management in Nigeria: Beyond Rhetoric’, was a clear message for all entrusted with the management of government funds to be up and doing and go beyond rhetoric in cash management practice as “the traditional rule of the thumb and/or cash rationing approach could not drive the nation’s economy”.
He stressed: “Managing funds should not just be about expending the available funds; we must constantly keep ourselves abreast with strategies for knowing how to ensure inflows, when to expend and when not to and as well be able to forecast the unforeseeable future, the cash needs of the government and possible challenges.”
Idris, who was represented by the Director of Inspectorate Department in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Anamekwe Chukwunyere, commended the initiative of the organisers and expressed optimism that the three-day retreat would discuss critical issues posing great challenges to public financial management practices and evolve feasible, sustainable solutions for them.
Furthermore, in his welcome remarks, the Director of Fund, OAGF, Sabo Mohammed, said that the OAGF is positioned to drive the policy, and have been able to deliver on their mandates, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Stressing that the Sub-Committee functions are very critical to treasury management because it obtains stakeholders input papertyper, deliberate on them and make proposals for approval for the payment of personnel costs. It also deliberates on pension and gratuities as well as statutory transfer to the federal cash management.