Mrs. Anastasia Daniel Nwobia, PS, Finance Ministry
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel Nwobia, has said that the absence of ministers would not hinder the smooth running of the new administration of President Buhari.
Briefing State House correspondents on Monday after meeting with the president, Nwobia said she was invited to shed light on certain issues in the handover notes submitted to the new administration by her ministry under former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Asked if the absence of ministers would in any way affect the effective coordination of government affairs, Nwobia said: “I don't think it is an issue to bother about since government is a continuum.
“Even if you have political heads there, the engine room of the service are the civil servants and we have continued to do our work.”
Providing insight into her mission to the Presidential Villa and the nation’s finances, she said: “We are basically here to brief the president on the activities of the Ministry of Finance,” adding that “the state of Nigerian finances are okay. Our finances are still okay, though we are still going through the challenges of a reduced revenue stream to government, and this you know obviously is from oil.
“The price of oil that has dropped; it has significantly reduced the revenue stream to government. But we are working at other ways to see how we can shore up the revenue base, so that we will be able to meet our expenditure.”
Commenting on the payment of outstanding subsidy claims to oil marketers, Nwobia said: “We did not say that we will not pay subsidy. Like the former minister said, there is a liability on subsidies which is being verified by the CBN and the Budget Office of the Federation.
“The issue had to do with the forex differentials which they were claiming and this committee is looking into it. As soon as it is resolved, we will be able to pay the verified amount.”
Similarly, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, disclosed that he had been mandated to share the money left in the ECA.
He said there would be a meeting of FAAC “and we are going to distribute as agreed and directed during the NEC meeting last week. And the position was very clear that what we met on the ground is what we are going to distribute”.
On how much was left in the ECA to be shared, Idris said it stood at between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion.
“That is what we are going to distribute among the three tiers of governments: the federal, state and local governments based on the approved formula,” he said.
On his agenda to shore up the federation’s finances following his appointment, Idris explained that the general message by the president was very clear requiring all office holders to fall in line.
He said: “We shall focus on the prudent management of resources and identify alternative ways of generating revenue, which we are set to do and to manage the meagre resources we found very efficiently and effectively for the betterment of the economy.”
Read: Breaking News
See Others: Home Page