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SGF defends NFIU on LG accounts

by CredibleNews

Secretary to the Governemnt of the Federation, Boss Mustapha has provided reasons behind the guideline rolled out recently by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, to regulate expenditure by local government councils in the country.

State governors have cried foul on the decision to monitor spendings at the third tier of government by modifications to the state-local government joint account system. The NFIU wants local councils to disburse their funds directly, limiting them to N500,000 transactions per day as opposed to governors spending council funds indiscriminately.

The new guideline empowers NFIU to register and monitor all financial transactions by local governments through e-payment module. Governors will also lack control over the utilization of  local governments funds.

Mustapha, in an interview with CREDIBLE NEWS, argued that the intention behind the new order is to monitor movement of funds, how such are used and ensure that funds are not channeled for negative purposes inimical to national interest.

“We have to keep a watch on the movement of funds as done all over the world. The tendency is for government to be interested on how funds are used because funds have become instrument of destabilization in most countries. So, it is important that as Nigerians we are to follow up and keep in mind how funds are moved within the system.

“It can destabilize the economy and the security architecture of the nation. So we have to be very careful. What has happened is that the unit that used to be part of the EFCC is now trying to do its job,” the SGF explained.

He, however, admitted that the Federal Government must be careful not to antagonise state governments. “In NFIU doing its job, we have to manage it in such a way that we are all partners. We are working for the same system to ensure that our people will get the benefit of whatever policies or establishments that are put in place. We would try as much as possible to create a platform for the resolution of whatever issues that will arise,” he promised even as he gave assurance that his office is working to manage all grey areas on the contentious issue.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari last July signed the NFIU Bill into law in line with the requirements of Recommendation 29 of the Financial Action Task Force Standards and Article 14 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

The new law, which comes to force in April, has separated the NFIU from the EFCC. The  objective is to fight all crimes through money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation of weapons in the country.

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