The Federal Government has called on state governments to ensure the responsible and transparent use of the matching grants allocated for the implementation of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) programme.

The Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, gave the directive during the inauguration of a six-day training program in Abuja for accountants and auditors from UBEC and State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs).

Addressing the attendees, Dr. Bobboyi condemned the undue pressure often placed on financial officers by state officials, urging SUBEBs’ financial officers to uphold integrity and resist such pressures to avoid compromising standards.

“The training aims to update participants on the revised accounting manual and to provide a comprehensive understanding of financial infractions and sanctions,” Bobboyi stated.

“This knowledge is essential for ensuring effective service delivery in basic education.”

Highlighting the mandates of UBEC and SUBEBs in implementing the Universal Basic Education programme, Bobboyi stressed the importance of a robust accounting system to ensure the judicious use of government funds.

He underscored the responsibility to be accountable to the public regarding the management of the Federal Government’s UBE Intervention Fund.

To achieve these objectives, continuous enhancement of professional competence among UBEC and SUBEB staff is necessary, he noted.

Despite previous training efforts, there has been limited improvement in financial practices, Bobboyi lamented.

He cited findings from regular quarterly financial monitoring by UBEC, which revealed poor record-keeping and infractions against established guidelines.

The findings and recommendations from these monitoring activities have been communicated to SUBEBs for corrective action.

Dr. Bobboyi stressed the importance of adhering to existing rules and guidelines to ensure accountability and transparency in financial transactions.

“As finance officers, it is your duty to comply strictly with these government stipulations,” he said. “Engaging in or condoning wrongdoing will not be excused. Remember, reports from UBEC’s financial monitoring can be requested by agencies enforcing compliance with laws and regulations.”

He urged participants to fully engage with the training to return to their offices equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to improve accounting practices at both the Commission and Boards.

Adamu Misau, Director of Finance and Accounts at UBEC, noted that to protect the FGN-UBE Intervention Fund, a new sanction regime developed in 2022 had been approved for implementation. The delay in its implementation was to ensure all financial managers received adequate training, which the current program aimed to provide.

“We expect that by the end of this training, financial officers will be better prepared to manage the FGN-UBE Intervention Funds responsibly, adhering to financial regulations and due process,”.