26 September 2015, Lagos – The implementation of the Treasury Single Account, TSA, as directed by the federal government is impacting negatively on the operations of Nigeria’s apex maritime regulatory authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, investigation has revealed.
NIMASA, one of the revenue generating government agencies rakes in millions of naira monthly. These monies are kept in several accounts with commercial banks making it the target of many financial institutions looking for slush funds and huge deposits.
However, with the implementation of the TSA by the federal government, which kicked off in September, impeccable sources disclosed that the agency is now grappling with meeting its statutory obligations including payment for its daily operations and services.
It was gathered that payments for hotels bills, travels, advertisements in prints and electronic media, duty tour allowances, DTA, of staff running into millions of Naira have not been paid since the appointment of Mr. Haruna Jauro as the acting Director General of NIMASA.
Sources said the statutory functions of the agencies as outlined in the NIMASA Act 2007 are suffering since Jauro’s appointment just as several activities of the agency have been kept on hold because he is yet to approve them or make money available to carry them out.
Only last week, a scheduled trip to Defence Headquarters, Abuja where the expired memorandum of understanding, MoU, between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy would have been renewed was cancelled at the last minute because there was no money to pay for flight ticket, DTA, hotel accommodation and other expenses for the trip.
“There is no money. Everything is grinding to a halt because there is no fund to execute them. The TSA directive by President Muhammadu Buhari was like making an already bad situation worse. It is terrible but that is the truth”, the source added.
A committee set up by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport, Mr. Mohammed Bashir had carried out a review of employment during the tenure of the former Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi. Akpobolokemi and discovered that due process required for employment into the civil service was not followed. Consequently, some of the affected employees were said to have been demoted or sacked.
However, the agency in a statement signed by the Deputy Director and Head of Public Relations, Hajia Lami Tumaka denied the allegations.
Though the names and the designations of the affected staff members were not made public, the agency said contrary to speculation in some sections of the media that NIMASA has disengaged 200 staff members in its employ, only three persons whose engagement had wholesome irregularities have been asked to leave.
The agency explained that like every federal government agency, the Federal Civil Service rules govern engagement and disengagement of officers in NIMASA.
*John Iwori – Thisday