In an effort to develop the capacity of finance personnel and bring them up to speed with current Federal Government financial policies as well as internal control measures introduced to safeguard public funds, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Accounts and Budget Branch (A&B) has commenced a 2-day Training Workshop today, 6 February 2019, in Abuja. The theme of the Workshop is; “Strengthening the NAF Finance Specialty for Efficient Service Delivery in Support of NAF Operations”, which is in tandem with one of the key drivers of the Chief of the Air Staff’s (CAS) Vision, namely “Human Capacity Development through Robust and Result Oriented Training for Enhanced Professional Performance.”
The Training Workshop attracted a large turnout of NAF Finance personnel and array of resource persons with requisite knowledge and experience in financial matters and would further inject fresh ideas into the financial and accounting policies of the NAF. During the 2-day workshop, 5 papers will be presented by esteemed resource persons from both within and outside the NAF. On the first day of the Workshop, 2 papers were presented. The first paper was the keynote lecture on “Current Federal Government Financial Reforms and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs): The Auditor-General’s Perspective” while the second paper was tilted, “Techniques to Preparing Error Free Financial Returns” delivered by Squadron Leader OT Onyeukwu (retired).
In his remarks, the Special Guest of Honour the Auditor General for the Federation, Anthony Ayine commended the NAF for its efficient internal control mechanism and accounting system as well as effective tracking of its finances from point of release to execution. According to him, the essence of the Federal Government financial reforms is to ensure probity, prudent management of financial resources in order to improve service delivery to the Nigerian people. The Auditor General stated further that there are constitutional provisions and other extant regulations that are put in place by the Federal Government to ensure probity and accountability over public revenue and expenditure. “At no time will you have adequate resources but what is important is the efficient and effective management of available resources”, he said.
Speaking on the “Challenges of Funding Military Operations”, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, represented by the Director of Funds, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji MK Usman, stated that in spite of dwindling revenue, security financing had continued to attract unrivalled attention from Government as the security sector of the economy had continued to receive the largest chunk of the annual budgets in recent years. He noted that in spite of the seemingly robust funding, the NAF in view of its strategic mandate in the overall protection of the Nation’s territorial integrity may perhaps, do with enhanced funding to ensure that men and materials were sufficiently catered for to enhance better efficiency. “Modern military requires specialists in all respects to successfully drive its core and other support mandates. Therefore, one way of overcoming the challenge of inadequate financing is the effective and efficient management of lean financial resources by competent and professional personnel in the face of competing demands. In that respect, the NAF would need to command the best in her officers through capacity building and thorough skill acquisition and exposure to the latest financial management programmes. Guaranteed compliance with extant rules and regulations to foster accountability and probity in NAF operations should never be compromised in order to ensure a functional and highly efficient system”, he emphasized.
While declaring the Workshop open, the CAS, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Muhammadu Muhammed, noted that in line with the anti-corruption drive of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the NAF has complied with measures emplaced by the Federal Government to aid transparency in government’s financial transactions. These measures include the Treasury Single Account, Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, as well as the ongoing biometric data capture for the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.
The CAS stated further that despite a decline in governmental allocation, the NAF, alongside sister Services, has been able to achieve commendable successes in counter-insurgency and the fight against armed banditry plaguing various regions of the country. The NAF, he said, had been able to effectively deploy its platforms to troubled areas in support of sister Services. According to him, this was achieved through prudent management of resources allocated to the Service and strict compliance with procurement laws. “For instance, as at July 2015, the aircraft serviceability status of the NAF was about 35 per cent. However, as at date, the aircraft serviceability status has improved to between 78 and 82 per cent of operable aircraft and, as a Service, we are still striving to surpass this level. Additionally, the Service in recent times has added 18 aircraft to its inventory. The procurement of these additional aircraft was done to meet up with the operational tasking of the NAF. The Service therefore requires not only additional funding but also prudent management of its resources for the maintenance of these platforms in order to remain airborne and carry out its statutory roles”, he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of Accounts and Budget (CAB), AVM Clement Ogbeche, noted that the Workshop had been organized to bring personnel of the Finance Specialty up to speed with current Federal Government financial policies. He said the 2-day workshop would place emphasis on some of the Federal Government financial reforms and its applications in the NAF. While appreciating the CAS for giving the A&B Branch the opportunity to organize the Workshop, the CAB said the future application of knowledge gained from the Workshop would be instinctive and enable all participants make informed decisions. The Workshop which was last conducted in 2007 is expected to come to a close tomorrow, 7 February 2019.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force