*Receives COVID-19 vaccines
Dikachi Franklin, in Owerri
Imo State government has directed all its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to stop receiving payments as all payments should now be done via the Treasury Single Account (TSA), a payment system that puts government accounts into one block account, thereby assisting in pluck cash leakages.
The order came from the state executive council after it rose from its weekly meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodinma.
The state government directed that cash payments would no longer be accepted in the ministries, departments and agencies of government, but should be done via TSA.
Declan Emelumba, commissioner for information and strategy said that henceforth all Imo people have been given final notice against encouraging or partaking in revenue leakages; and that the government has stopped the issuance of cash receipts for any form of transaction.
“All payments must be done through the Bank which must go through the Treasury Single Account (TSA). All Ministries, Departments and Agencies are to desist from accepting cash on any payment belonging to the Government,” the information commissioner said.
He insisted that those who violate the laid down rules will face very unpleasant consequences.
Imo, a south-eastern subnational, with a GDP in excess of $18.3 billion as of 2016, is a poor performer in internally generated revenue (IGR), despite being awash with large gas deposits and other mineral deposits.
Till date, the state is hardly able to hit the N2 billion mark in IGR effort. Several cash leakages abound in its governance system leading to poor revenue recouping.
Meanwhile, Emelumba informed that Imo has received its consignment of the 3.9 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine which the Nigerian central government ordered earlier in the month.
Emelumba said the state government had put in place the necessary conditions for the supply and disbursement of the vaccines, which include: preserving the vaccine in the 305 INEC wards of the State with solar powered refrigerators.
“Government has also released a reasonable amount of money for the training of those who will carry out the vaccination administration as many people will be captured in the first phase of the programme,” he explained.
Chuck Chukwuemeka, commissioner for finance, buttressed the decision reached on revenue leakages and plans to stop it, saying that those who are asked to pay cash for any government transaction should report to his office or that of the chairman of Imo Internal Revenue Service (IIRS).
Meanwhile, the information commissioner informed that the state executive council reemphasized the need for early empowerment of the ministry of lands and survey in the state, to carry out the full implementation of recovery of all lands and property of government based on the Whitepaper report on violation of Owerri Master Plan.
However, he noted that owners of the Ekwema Crescent layout which was illegally allotted to people by the Rochas Okorocha administration without any law, were fortunate as the state government did not revoke their land.
“Government has ordered that the land be returned to the original owners; and that anything developed on such land belongs to the owners,” he said.