NULGE, SSASCGOC support NFIU directive on states, councils joint accounts
The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) have thrown their weight behind the new mode of operating joint accounts by states and local councils, under a new Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) directive.
Commending the Federal Government for effective enforcement of the order, the two unions also lauded financial institutions that have so far adhered strictly to the NFIU guidelines, for the Joint State-Local Government Account and local government funds.
The President of NULGE, Ibrahim Khaleel, said in Abuja that the smooth take-off of the guidelines, and the way banks have cooperated is encouraging, despite the stiff opposition it faced from the governors.He accused some governors of pursuing selfish desires to mismanage funds meant for the local councils.
“The Federal Government, especially President Muhammadu Buhari should be commended for standing on the side of the people, the rule of law, and the development of the country, by insisting on NFIU guidelines. Also, the financial institutions must be commended for strict adherence to the rules, while we praise the Unit itself for leading the way in doing a very good job,” Khaleel said.
The NFIU Guidelines commenced June 1, 2019 after the governors failed to secure a court order stop its execution, during which banks were requested to ensure its full implementation.
The NFIU had on May 6th, issued the guideline to reduce the vulnerabilities created by cash withdrawals from local government funds throughout the country, which restored full mandate for the operation of State/Local Government Joint Accounts to be used solely for the distribution of funds directly to the accounts of the councils.
The NFIU is the Nigerian arm of the global Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) domiciled within the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as an autonomous unit and operating in the African region. The NFIU seeks to comply with international standards on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation.
Speaking on the take-off, Khaleel said: “Effective regulation of arbitrary withdrawals of local government funds by state governments from the joint local government/state joint accounts by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), as we have seen with the take off now, would reduce looting of council finances.”
Commending the new guideline, he described it as a giant step towards granting financial autonomy to local government councils, and promised to work with relevant agencies of government to ensure the successful implementation of the guidelines.
“To encourage the Federal Government, President Buhari, the banks and other financial institutions, and the NFIU itself, the union will train its members across the length and breadth of the country to keep eagle eyes on the operations of the funds going to local government councils henceforth. I am assuring you, we will ensure that flagrant abuse of the system and the funds is stopped.” Khaleel said.
Also, speaking, the SSASCGOC General Secretary, Ayo Olorunfemi, applauded the NFIU for taking the step, as state governors, had over the years, frustrated development at the grassroots by refusing to allow financial autonomy for local councils.
Olorunfemi commended President Buhari for the initiative, which has renewed the faith of Nigerians and the labour movement in his anti-corruption fight.
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