By Michael Eboh
The Office of the Auditor General for the Federation, OAuGF, weekend, said it has concluded plans to undertake an extensive audit of the extractive industries, comprising the petroleum and mining sectors, to identify and eliminate sharp practices, promote transparency and accountability.
In a statement in Abuja, the Auditor-General of the Federation, Anthony Mkpe Ayine, disclosed that the OAuGF was setting up a new unit to carry out the audit.
Ayine stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio.
He noted that the on commencement of the audit, the OAuGF would not fail to request support from NEITI in understanding the operations of the petroleum and mining sectors for operational efficiency.
Ayine said his office would be collaborating with NEITI to promote openness and accountability in the management of government revenue from the sector.
According to him, the collaboration is in connection with the Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project, FGIP, which the Federal Government and World Bank are undertaking to strengthen revenue management and encourage transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.
He explained that the purpose of the engagement with NEITI and other agencies, was to ensure that the collection of revenue is lawfully made and duly remitted to government.
Ayine said there was also need to harmonize figures contained in the annual reports of both organisations so as to erase doubts and build public trust.
“NEITI handles very important statistics that is important to the Federal Government and analysts. It is imperative that we work together to reconcile and harmonise the figures that make up our annual reports for our collective integrity as a country,” he said.
The Auditor-General further explained that the role of his office in executing the FGIP is to conduct Revenue Assurance Audit and IT Audit on income generating Ministries Departments and Agencies of government to ascertain their level of compliance with set rules for revenue collection and remittance.
Also speaking, NEITI’S chief executive, Mr. Waziri Adio, expressed readiness for the collaboration which he said was a welcome development and pledged to support the OAuGF in the quest to begin audit of the extractive industry.
“NEITI is ready and willing to work with the Office of the Auditor General and other similar agencies to promote integrity, openness, standards and uniformity in data collation, validation management and utilization,” Adio said.
He further stated that: “It is not just enough to be transparent; it is about being comprehensively transparent to ensure that the information is understood. Anything that will bring about transparency in the management of revenues we will give you all the support”.
“We are working for the same purpose; we have to leverage on the strengths of the different agencies. We have done this for 15 years and we have the information that will guide you in the extractive industry,” Adio added.
He also reminded the Auditor-General on the need to review NEITI’s annual reports sent to his Office and give his feedback for a more robust alliance between both establishments.