The Acting Chief of Accounts and Budget, Army, Brigadier General Jehadi Ezra Jakko has disclosed that with the expansion of the Nigerian Army’s Order of Battle (ORBAT) 2016, leading to the establishment of 3 additional divisions (6, 7 and 8 divisions in Port Harcourt, Maiduguri and Sokoto respectively), thereby introducing an 8 division force structure, there is need for the federal government to initiate new sources of funding to halt the continually dwindling financial allocations to the Nigerian Army.
Jakko stated that the current budgeting system (envelop system) by the National Assembly cannot adequately accommodate the operational needs of the Army.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 11th Biennial Nigeria Army Finance Corps Training Conference at the Command Officers Mess 2, Apapa in Lagos, on Tuesday, Brig-General Jakko noted that the envelop system limits the resources at the disposal of the army for routine maintenance and full implementation of the 2016 ORBAT.
The theme for the 2017 conference is ‘Military Expenditure and Combat Readiness: Realistic Funding as a Panacea for Sustaining Nigeria Army Operations.
Brig-General Jakko said, “Dwindling resources through the envelop system has also impeded routine exercises required for operational readiness and efficiency”.
“There is therefore the need to exploit new budgeting windows to include other channels of funding for the Nigerian Army as is done in other nations”.
“Available options include creating a Defence Support Fund as obtainable in Turkey, establishment of a Military Industrial Base and Investment Holdings as in Egypt or enacting a local Defence Trust Fund Act like existing Tertiary Education Trust Fund in Nigeria.
“The government could also include Defence and Security sector as beneficiaries from the National Sovereign wealth Fund. These windows will reduce the burden of funding military on government”, the Acting CAB said.
Continuing he said, “However, working within continuously dwindling financial resources, the Nigerian Army Finance Corps has ensured that available funds were prudently and transparently channels towards areas that would sustain Nigerian Army operations which is in line with my mission, ‘To create an environment for the prudent and transparent application of financial resources towards a professionally responsive Army”.
“To this end, funds were channeled towards payment of outstanding operations allowance to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole. A dedicated data base was established at Headquarters NAFC Abuja and a special payment portal known as ‘e-Tranzact Portal’ was installed to facilitate payment process of troops allowances in the North East theater.
“Also, on the spot verification exercise was conducted in 3 locations (Maiduguri, Yobe and Yola) to address issues of outstanding claims of operations allowances in Operation Lafiya Dole. This has assisted in boosting the morale of troops and rekindling their fighting spirits towards attaining the Nigerian Army mission”.
On the achievements recorded in the NAFC in the last 2 years, Jakko said, “The level of professionalism has greatly increased through improved training, discipline and welfare. The Corps held the Warrant Officers/Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Training Week 2017 across all divisions which was adjudged successful.
“It also held the Nigerian Army Leadership Development Seminar in the Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration (NASFA) which recorded increased participation.
“Most recently, the Corps organized a training package for its personnel on the International Public Sector Accounting Standard in collaboration with the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation. These deliberate training efforts have improved the capacity of NAFC personnel to the benefit of Nigeria Army operations” the CAB added.
Participants at the ceremony included National Assembly members, retired and serving military officers, the academia as well as representatives of financial and business communities amongst who were Senator Francis Alimikhena, Deputy Chip Whip, Senate, Senator Binta and the Chairman House of Reps committee on the Army.
Also present were retired Major Generals Victor Odeka, BVT Kwaji, Muaraina, Bako, Toun, Willians, Owuama and serving General Officers Commanding including, Major General RO Yusuf, Commander TRADOC, Adamu Abubakar, GOC 82 division, Dauke, GOC 81 division, Adeosun, Director, Administration, Defence Headquarters.
Commander Signals Corps, Major General Olukoju, Brigadier General Unuigbe, Acting Corps Commander, Ordinance, Brigadier General Edafiogor, Director of Procurement at Army headquarters, Chairman, Military Pensions Board, Brigadier General Adesope and Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, Director, Army Public Relations, while Brigadier General Adebayo represented the Director of Military Intelligence.