The Federal Government has launched an Asset Tracking and Management Project (ATMProject), through which for the first time, the government would be able to locate, identify, assess and evaluate all its moveable and immoveable assets.
Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, who announced this, also said a Central Asset Register would be created and domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance for recording the actual quantity, value, condition and location of all the capital assets belonging to the Federal Government. Under the International Public Sector Reporting Standard, government is expected to record both its assets and liabilities.
The minister further explained that “For the first time, a central and Unified National Database of Assets (Asset Register) would be generated and maintained for the purpose of recording, tracking and managing the huge investments in capital assets owned by Government.”
The Assets Tracking and Management Project and the creation of the Assets Register were new initiatives of the Ministry of Finance designed to enhance accountability, promote transparency and deepen efficiency in line with the change agenda of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The Asset Tracking exercise and Register will make planning and control easier and improve accountability for assets. With the increased allocation to capital expenditure to 30%, it is important that all assets are recorded and accounted for. Where disposals occur, they must be in line with the laid down procedures and must be transparent,” she pointed out.
The Asset Register would afford the government to know and monitor in real time, online information on the inventory of government assets.
A Project Coordinator has been appointed by the minister for the immediate take-off of the Asset Tracking and Management Project and the creation of the first Central Asset Register for the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, a circular signed by the Minister has been dispatched to all ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) requesting their Accounting Officers to prepare an inventory of all fixed assets held as at 31st December 2016, to facilitate physical verification by the Project Team.
The circular further requested all heads of MDAs “to ensure that any assets held by current and former staff are fully accounted for. In this regard, you may find it necessary to contact any former staff and /or political office holders to avail them the opportunity to return relevant assets in their possession.”
The circular emphasized that “all inventory records submitted will be cross-checked to capital releases and project account purchases to ensure completeness. Where assets have been sold or otherwise disposed of, they must be recorded with supporting authorization for sale and evidence of payment, where applicable.”
The Circular drew the attention of Heads of MDAs to Chapter 26 of the Financial Regulations, with regards to disposals of assets and warned that “any asset not accessible for physical inspection and not disposed of in accordance with financial requirements will be deemed to have been illegally withheld or converted. Please record such assets so as to enable the investigative agencies to be notified.”
The records of the assets disposed of should cover the last five years and all accounting officers of the MDAs were to submit their reports not later than three weeks from the date of receipt of the circular.
It could be recalled that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) delivered 40 vehicles to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources which it recovered from some retired Directors of the Ministry; and also the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) announced the recovery of 40 Sports Utility Vehicles from a retired Permanent Secretary who served in the Federal Ministry of Power.