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March 29, 2023

Why 30 states re-enacted improved audit laws – NGF

Revenue allocation

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

THIRTY states have re-enacted statutory laws to provide operational and financial autonomy to audit offices in their territories, the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Aminu Tambuwal, has said.

According to him, the new audit laws now guarantee security of tenure to auditor-generals working at subnational levels to enable them execute their mandate without fear of intimidation or retaliation.

Tambuwal disclosed this while delivering the keynote address at the public presentation of the 2022 Subnational Audit Efficacy (SAE) Index Report by Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative, PLSI, in Abuja on Wednesday.

The Sokoto governor said, “As of today, thirty (30) States have re-enacted improved audit laws that provide operational and financial autonomy to audit offices at State and Local Government, building on the provision of Sections 125 – 127 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in line with ISSAI – the Mexico Declaration on the Independence of Supreme Audit Institutions.

“Privileges extended to Auditors-General by the new audit laws include autonomy from the Executive and Legislature in the selection of audit issues, reporting, organizing and management of their office.

“Also, they are now guaranteed security of tenure with sufficiently long and fixed terms that should allow them to execute their mandate without fear of retaliation.”

The NGF chairman further identified improved quality of financial reporting and timely online publication of annual audited statements as other reforms by governors to strengthen audit offices at both the state and local government levels.

“Similarly, states have begun embracing the culture of publishing citizens accountability reports. That is; a citizen’s friendly version of the audited financial statements,” he added.

While noting that the states had made significant progress working with the federal government, the legislature, the civil society and other development partners, Tambuwal disclosed that 15 States now report on IPSAS Accrual Basis.

Earlier, the Chairman Board of Directors Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative, Arc. (Rev) Polycarp Gbaja, disclosed that the organisation applied eight scoring parameters as methodology for conducting the Subnational Audit Efficacy Index 2022.

He explained that the SAE Index report moved from just assessing management of public funds to evaluating implementation of public policies at the state level.

“As the objective of the SAE Index is, we believe this report will further provide necessary feedback to us at PLSI and to other development institutions on areas accountability actors at subnational level are struggling and require support,” Gbaja stressed.

According to him, the organisation leveraged the 2021 SAE Index report to begin assisting five states under the ‘strengthening public audit practices and accountability at the state level in Nigeria’ project supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

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