Head of Service of the Federation, Ms. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita has said government institutions indebted to the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) risk having a chunk of their overhead expenditure deducted from the first line charge, should they fail to settle their outstanding debts to the Board.
The Head of Service gave this assurance 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, Friday.
According to her, these MDAs have no business owing the AEPB as these expenses ought to have been fully catered for in their annual overhead budgetary expenditures.
Ms. Oyo-Ita who disclosed that her office has similar understanding with the PHCN or the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to deduct at first line charge all indebtedness by government institutions to the company, said it would have no option than to write the budget office to authorize this arrangement, should these MDAs fail to defray their indebtedness to the AEPB.
Her words: “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,” she reiterated.
The Head of Service also disclosed that a committee will be set up, comprising members from her office and FCT Administration to negotiate with the erring MDAs for the purposes of reconciliation and payment of these outstanding debts.
Speaking 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, constituted the Special Task Team when the Administration realized it was unable to offset its rising indebtedness to the companies it had contracted to provide these services.
Lawan emphasized that due to the dwindling revenues accruing to the FCTA, the Administration was finding it very difficult to settle these bills, which he said, amounted to more than N200 million per month.
According to him, “the level of indebtedness to the FCTA by federal government agencies exceeds over N9 billion. We have organizations, the residents, the plazas, the commercial banks, the hospitals and so forth that are all indebted to the Administration”.
He stressed that, “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 thus, 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,” Lawan restated.
Muhammad Hazat Sule, FCAI
Deputy Director / Chief Press Secretary,Sunday, June 19, 2016.