The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, directed the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) to henceforth deduct water, electricity, and all other forms of utility bills (debts) owed companies and service providers by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of government from the source.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon Kingsley Uju, who expressed grave concern over the huge debt accrued from non-payment of utilities provided to government agencies over the years.
He also stressed the need for the Parliament to expose various MDAs that refuse to pay their utility bills, as at when due to the utility providers because they are government agencies, first, and thereafter, design a method to get the bills paid by removing such monies from their various accounts- subheads in the office of the accountant general of the federation and pay the service providers directly.
“For instance, investigations carried out by the House, revealed that the MDAs find it difficult to pay their electricity and water bills, and when they do, they pay in peanuts after years or months of accumulation, despite such provisions in their annual budgets, often approved by the parliament during the budget defence.
“We all know that government in its annual budgets accommodate these utility bills and fund them adequately and most MDAs even go as far as defending the payments of these utility bills during their budget defences; when they, in fact, actually owe the utility bills to the providers.”
The lawmaker who represents, Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru-west Federal Constituency of Imo State, noted that the motion was for a proper and convenient means of ensuring that government ministries and agencies, paid their bills in future from the source without owing the providers.
He expressed optimism that the Utility providers will be able to meet their financial obligation of paying government fees, charges and thereby boosting government internally generated revenue when measures are put in place to ease the collection of the bills for the utility providers enjoyed by the MDAs.
Hon Uju added that the resolution will also “assist the utility providers to access a direct debit means of collecting the utility bills directly from sources of government funding, which the office of the Accountant Generation of the Federation will be most competent to achieve.”
To this end, the House mandated the joint Committees on Appropriation and Public Accounts to summon a meeting of the heads of MDAs and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation to work out a blueprint for direct debit of utility bills payment of federal ministries, departments, agencies, and parastatals of government.
Deduct water, electricity bills of MDAs from source