Halfway Through: A Review of The Office of The Treasurer

Slightly over halfway into the 2022/2023 tenure, the efforts -and shortcomings -of the UIMSA executive council have been brought under the microscope. In the quest for transparency and accountability, the UIMSA press took the initiative to interview each member of the Executive Council, weighing their lofty plans and promises against the reality so far.

The focus of this article, the office of the Treasurer of the Association, is currently being manned by Miss Olajuwon Folashade, a member of the 2k21 class. Having been co-opted into the position, thanks to the unrepentant apathy of UIMSAites and the constitutional requirement that all executive positions be filled, she presented no manifesto to the public and thus denied us a yardstick to measure her progress by. However, according to the 2022 revision of the Association’s constitution, her duties as stated therein include:

  • Disbursement of the approved expenditure of the Association
  • Provision of the latest report of the audited account of the Association’s finances as presented to the Senate on request by ordinary members of the Association through their class representative within 2 weeks of such a request
  • Keeping of records and custody of all receipts of withdrawal, payments and statutory books of accounts as may be directed by the auditors of the Association
  • Performance of all such other duties as are hereinafter assigned to him/her under other articles of this Constitution and by the Executive Council.

In an interview conducted with Miss Olajuwon, she claims she has performed all duties as stated in the constitution. She described her experience in office so far as “easy” as the responsibilities demanded of her position are minimal in comparison with other executive positions. She proceeded to credit her smooth sailing to her immediate predecessor, Miss Esther Olaoye, whom she claims ushered her into the role as she had no prior experience in financial administration. She however expressed willingness to learn on the job.

In terms of challenges faced in office, in her own words, “People are not able to pay into their accounts through the portal and I’ve had to write a whole lot of receipts because people are paying directly into the bank account. So it’s a little bit overwhelming especially when people are breathing down my neck that they really want their receipt or they’re not understanding the fact that I am also a student with schedules and I typically should batch write these things.” This is in regard to a glitch in the UIMSA portal that has prevented the website from auto-generating receipts. “It was a bit of a challenge initially,” she said, “Until I worked out a system that seems to be working now. We have an arrangement; you send your evidence of payment and get your receipt during the weekend. It’s still a little bit of a minor burden but I feel I can handle it.”

She also stated that in the bid to ensure proper stewardship of UIMSA’s funds, she follows strict orders from the President alone and has on more than one occasion had to politely decline a disbursement request.

I get a payment request then I run it through the President and she says go ahead with this or do not go ahead and I either go ahead or do not go ahead. I try to keep her in the know at all times so I do not step out of line.”

Miss Olajuwon revealed that as her personal task this tenure, she is working on an instalmental payment system for dues to encourage financial commitment from UIMSAites in these economically trying times. The details are yet to be perfected and the catch to this system is the all-or-none rule: you either pay the complete amount by the end of the tenure or forfeit any money paid up till then as debtors will not be given end-of-tenure packages.

She also spoke on the Medipreneur Storefront, a collaborative project she is working on with the financial secretary in which UIMSA vendors who have paid their dues and indicated interest will be inputted into a directory and publicized by the association.

On the Association’s finances as a whole, she lamented on how things are not as should be. It’s a constant rat race. The finances are not there. Do you know how when you have funds you can plan? The fact that the dues come in trickles makes it very hard to plan. You always have to think about opportunity cost: what are the things we have to do, to the detriment of the things we should also do but don’t have the funds to.” She then went on to implore UIMSAites to pay their dues to reduce the strain on the executives in terms of last-minute planning. In the same vein, she emphasized that dues are not paid specifically for the purpose of packages, but for representation.

She also commented on the transparency of the association, as no action of the Executive Council goes without vetting from the Senate and Congress. Thus, there is no room for foul play or misappropriation of funds.

As regards the imminent health week, no concrete budget or financial plans have yet been made.

She closed with the following heartfelt appeal to UIMSAites: “I care about UIMSAites’ welfare a lot but before you can do welfare you have to have money and the account is dry. So please UIMSAites, pay your dues. Make it easy for this Council’s tenure to do a good job of taking care of you and of welfarism, and hopefully, we won’t disappoint you.”

Oreoluwa Elizabeth Opeolu

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