E-Payment Regime for Federal Government's Service Providers Will Reduce Bureaucracy in Nigeria


The planned introduction of a new e-payment regime by the Nigeria’s Federal Government, on 1st January 2009 fiscal year for payment of its service providers, contracts and other services would put a stop to official bottleneck associated with payments of contracts that have been completed.

If the e-payment system as proposed by the present administration is fully implemented, the physical contacts between accounts officials and contractors with regards to payments would be a thing of the past, thereby minimizing bribery associated with physical payments.

By the beginning of 2009 financial year, according to Vanguard Computers & E-Business findings, designated contractors will be paid electronically in order to avoid a situation where they will have to bribe officials so as to be paid for the work done.

The electronic system, experts say, will go a long way in ensuring that payments are easily tracked electronically without any hassles. The current posture of government, keen watchers say, is to further instill transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business with regards to next year's budget.

Announcing the new measures at the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, recently and also at the recent 2009 budget presentation at the joint session of the National House Assembly, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua told the gathering that: "There will no longer be cash payments with regards to recurrent expenditure because it has been subject to widespread abuse with junior officials issuing cheques in their names to bring cash to MDAs for onward transmission to their bosses. All payments now should be in cheques so that there would be proper records"

Already, the Ogun state government had commenced an e-payment system to its public service using Remita and e-payment software products locally provided by a Nigerian leading Systemspecs.

Meanwhile, the state Accountant - General, Babatunde Salawu, has been quoted in a newspaper report as saying that despite the slight mix-up recently experienced in the payment of workers salaries through the newly introduced electronic payment technology, the system remains the best approach for government towards effective and timely payment of workers salaries and other entitlements.

Salawu, while fielding questions from Ogun update reporter on the subject matter explained that the State Government also adopted the system of payment as a way of motivating workers for high productivity. He said the strategy assures immediate payment of salaries to workers simultaneously across the State.

He disclosed that with the system, workers can withdraw salaries within 6 hours of lodgment as against delayed lodgment of cheques and the four to five days of waiting before salaries are cashed.

The process of the old methods of payment was not only time wasting but also burdensome, Salawu said the e-payment has brought lots of convenience and reduced paper wastage among other advantages in processing staff salaries.