A moratorium should be placed on key financial decisions affecting NI until devolution is imposed on 8 May, Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin has said.
Mitchel McLaughlin said decisions should be left to the assembly
Mr McLaughlin, chair of the assembly's finance committee, said important decisions were being taken by the NIO.
He said appointments had been made and a shortlist for a £500m contract known as Workplace 2010 had been drawn up.
A NIO statement said the main decision on the scope and content of the contract would be up to the assembly.
"Workplace 2010 is in the middle of a commercial process and that process is continuing. However, the main decision on the scope and content of the contracts will be for the new Stormont administration to make," it said.
However, Mr McLaughlin said he could not understand why such important decisions were being taken by direct rule ministers.
"It has been reported that direct rule minister David Hanson has taken a decision to shortlist two of the four parties bidding for the huge £500m Workplace 2010 contract two weeks prior to the establishment of the executive and political institutions," he said.
"I cannot understand why direct rule ministers are currently announcing decisions that will impact on the discharge of local ministers' responsibilities when a local administration is about to be restored in less than two weeks."
The Workplace 2010 contract involves the sale and lease of publicly owned assets.
It would tie the Department of Finance and Personnel into a 20-year commercial relationship with a private sector company.