Head of Service of the Federation, Ms. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita has threatened government institutions that are indebted to the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to the tune of N9 Billion to pay the debts or risk having a chunk of their overhead expenditure deducted from the first line charge to settle such debts.
Ms. Oyo-Ita who spoke when the Chairman, Ministerial Task Team on the recovery of N9 billion owed the AEPB, Baba Shehu Lawan led members of the Task Team to her office in Abuja, made it clear that MDAs have no business owing the AEPB as these expenses ought to have been fully catered for in their annual overhead budgetary expenditures.
She said that her office has similar understanding with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) or the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to deduct at first line charge all indebtedness by government institutions to the company.
She warned that her office had no option than to write the budget office to authorize this arrangement, should these 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 Head of Service, that is the Ministries and various Parastatals that if efforts are not made to clear these debts by the next overhead allocation, we will have no option than to ask the budget office to make deductions at first charge.”
“That is the arrangement we even have here with the PHCN or Abuja Electricity Distribution Company. We’ve given the budget office approval to deduct our bills and they are still doing it.”
The Head of Service said that a committee will be set up, comprising members from her office and FCT Administration to negotiate with the erring MDAs for the purpose of reconciliation and payment of these outstanding debts.
Earlier, the Chairman, Ministerial Task Team on the recovery of N9 billion owed the AEPB, Baba Shehu Lawan said the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, had constituted the Special Task Team when the Administration realized it was unable to offset its rising indebtedness to the companies which it had contracted to provide these services.
Lawan emphasized that due to the dwindling revenues of the FCTA, the Administration is finding it very difficult to settle these bills, which he said, amounted to more than N200 million per month.
“The level of indebtedness to the FCTA by federal government agencies exceeds N9 billion. We have organizations, the residents, the plazas, the commercial banks, the hospitals and so forth that are all indebted to the Administration. Because of this fact, this Special Task Team was constituted and given 8 weeks to recover such funds. We are now in our third week.”
The Chairman then appealed to the Head of Service to prevail on the MDAs to oblige and defray their balances within the shortest possible time to avoid discontinuation of solid and liquid waste disposal services.
“The FCT Administration is by no means willing to embarrass federal institutions either by dragging them to the mobile court or to discontinue the services of either solid or liquid waste.” [myad]