The federal government of Nigeria has inaugurated the Inter-Ministerial Task Force for the full implementation of the government integrated financial management information system (GIFMIS), a digital financial management solution.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony at Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning headquarters in Abuja yesterday, Mrs. (Dr.) Zainab Ahmed, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said that following the successful pilot implementation GIFMIS, the solution has been deployed service wide.

According to her, “the system is not the wishful thinking of the treasury but a multi-agency programme jointly developed by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, (OAGF), Budget Office (BOF), Debt Management Office (DMO), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in consultations with other stakeholders.”

GIFMIS is, in the words of Ahmed, part of pillar three of the national strategy for public service reform aimed at making the Nigerian public service world class anchored on optimum service delivery to the citizenry.

On the objectives of GIFMIS, Ahmed said: “The overall objective of the solution is to implement a computerised financial management information system for the federal government which is efficient, effective and user-friendly. Other objectives include: Increases the ability of federal government to undertake central control and monitoring of expenditure and receipts in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs); Increases the ability to access information on financial and operational performance; Increases internal controls to prevent and detect potential and actual fraud; Increases the ability to access information on government’s cash position and economic performance; Improves medium term planning through medium term expenditure framework (MTEF); Provides the ability to understand the costs of groups of activities and tasks; and increases the ability to demonstrate accountability and transparency to the public and cooperating partners.

Speaking on the concerns by the armed forces, among others, the Honourable Minister said: “Whereas the GIFMIS System is being used by all MDAs, the armed forces and the intelligence community have raised concerns. As a matter of fact, the armed forces only apply certain aspects of the system in their operations and continue to function manually for the bulk of their activities. While we have made some progress regarding the use of lPPIS, I considered it necessary to look into the concerns raised with regard to full GIFMIS implementation with the sole aim of addressing them to ensure successful implementation of the system.

“I am aware that a number of concerns have been raised by the military and the intelligence agencies including Covert operational expenses that are mainly cash based; Cash based non-regular allowances for personnel and officers; Remote field operational areas not covered by information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructures that will enable internet transactions and/or automated teller machines (ATMs) for transaction processing, and alignment of GIFMIS operations to the command and control structures of the armed forces.

According to her: “While on one hand government is determined to carry out reforms that promote national development and galvanising citizen productivity for greatness, we cannot ignore the genuine concerns of our gallant officers who are always ready to lay their lives for our common good. Thus, the constitution of the task force to look into the concerns and proffer solution such that a way forward can be found.

Considering the composition of task force members, Ahmed said that the membership of the ministerial task force has been drawn from the armed forces and other relevant MDAs and consist of the following: Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning of headquarters; Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (Chair); Ministry of Defence – MOD headquarters; Defence headquarters; Nigerian Army; Nigerian Navy; Nigerian Airforce; Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA); Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, Lagos; National Security Adviser; Directorate of State Security Service; and National Intelligence Agency.

On the terms of reference of the task force, she also said: “I am inaugurating this committee with a specific mandate that includes the following: Developing GIFMIS implementation guidelines for the armed forces by undertaking the following: Review the application of GIFMIS in the armed forces for budget preparation; Review the application of GIFMIS in the armed forces for bottom-up cash planning; Review the application of GIFMIS in the armed forces for revenue management; Review the application of GIFMIS in the armed forces for procurement and commitment management process;

Continuing on the terms of reference she said: “Review the application of GIFMIS in the armed forces on account payables; Review the application of GIFMIS in the armed forces on accounts receivable; Review the application of GIFMIS in the armed forces on stores management; Review the application of GIFMIS in the armed forces on fixed assets management; Review the application of GIFMIS in the armed forces on payments processing; Highlight areas that need to be changed or corrected; and propose necessary additions and/or changes to the guidelines.

Drawing attention to the deadline for the task force, Ahmed stated: “The task force is expected to submit its report including an action plan not later than three weeks from the inaugural date.

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