The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says providing an audit law for the country is crucial to any meaningful strategy aimed at curbing waste or misappropriation of public resources, as it will enable the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (OAuGF) achieve the robust external framework that the Nigeria public service environment requires and deserves.
Professor Osinbajo stated this on Monday 12th October, 2020 at a virtual engagement workshop organised by the OAuGF in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) for Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers, aimed at addressing the problem of poor synergy between and auditor and the auditee and minimising the misapplication of public funds across Ministries, Development and Agencies (MDAs).
The Vice President said that audit is a useful tool for preventing and detecting the misuse of public monies but noted with dismay that audit queries are not responded to and that this is a lapse worsened by the absence of sanctions for malfeasants, even as audit recommendations are also frequently ignored.
He commended the OAuGF for its ongoing reforms, including the introduction of audit methodologies and international standards of audits, as well as the the remarkable capacity building initiatives to enable staff attain the right level of competency and reaffirmed the commitment of the administration to the continuing fight against corruption and poor management of government’s financial resources.
“This is even more imperative now on account of the sharp drop in government revenues in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic. We simply do the not have the fiscal buffers to be careless about the management of public revenues and resources,” he said.
Earlier in his address, the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayine explained the role of auditors in strengthening public sector institutions by confirming that controls are operating effectively, identifying waste and suggesting ways in which government organisations can operate better, and urged Accounting Officers and Chief Executives to see the auditors as partners, rather than foes.
Ayine said that the workshop was designed to close the knowledge gap observed to exist among heads of Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the audit process and to ensure that auditees have a good understanding of response procedures and standardization, the implication of timely response to audit observations and consequences for non-response.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye; Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Abba, Chairman, of Senate Public Account Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide and his counterpart at the House of Representatives, Hon. Oluwole Oke, all lent their voices to the call for necessary laws that will enforce stiff sanctions for defaulters of the financial regulation.
The workshop tagged “Audit Processes and Engagement Procedures: Functional Responsibilities of Accounting and Chief Executives Officers of MDAs” was supported by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and the MacArthur Foundation.
For: DD (Information)