The Chairman Senate Public Accounts Committee, Matthew Urhoghide (Left), talking with the Auditor-General for the Federation, Anthony Mkpe Ayine (Right), during the oversight visit to the Audit House on Tuesday 27th November, 2018.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly on Tuesday, 27th November, 2018 paid an oversight visit to the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation to access performance of the 2018 budget.
Chairman of the PAC, Matthew Urhoghide (representing Edo South), who led members of his team to the Audit House in Abuja, also hinted that consideration of the 2016 audit report would soon commence.
He noted that findings from the report showed that laid down procedures for government spending had been breached by some Ministries, Departments and Agencies audited.
“We have received the Auditor-General’s audited report for 2016 and his comments. We want to start inviting those agencies to offer explanations on some of the infractions identified”, Urhoghide said.
The Chairman also observed that the audited accounts for certain agencies were not included in the Auditor-general’s submitted reports over the years and sought to know the reason for the omission.
The committee directed all agencies yet to submit their audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation, to do so within the next two weeks, to enable the Auditor-General make comments based on his observations and findings as required by law.
Group photograph with members of the Senate Public Accounts Committee and staff of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation at the end of the oversight visit to the Audit House on Tuesday 27th November, 2018.
In his welcome address, the Auditor-General for the Federation (AuGF), Anthony Mkpe Ayine, stressed the importance of the Public Accounts Committee saying it was perhaps the only standing committee constitutionally provided for.
Ayine said the uniqueness of Public Accounts Committee globally, is seen in their ability to maintain a non-partisan posture in the conduct of its affairs and urged members to continue to uphold the tenets and sacred traditions which the PAC is known for, in line with global best practices.
“This vital quality is what gives credibility to the work of the committee and continue to evoke public confidence in the decisions of the PAC,” he said.
The Auditor-General further said that the relationship between his office and the PAC must remain cordial and healthy to achieve success in public accountability.
“While the Supreme Audit Institution provides the necessary and vital reports for PAC to work, the later gives effect to the Auditor-General’s recommendations and also help to strengthen the work of the SAI,” he noted.
Providing clarification on some of the issues raised during the visit, Ayine stressed that there were no sacred cows as his office remained objective in the discharge of its assignments, ensuring that its reports are based on verifiable facts and not mere hearsay.
“Audit is a process, and what keeps an audit office going is objectivity. It is only observations with verifiable evidences which are not discharged during the audit process, that are incorporated in the final reports submitted to the National Assembly,” he further explained.
The Auditor-General maintained that the main purpose of audit reporting is to help improve the system and that through the IPSAS accrual accounting which the country has recently adopted, each Ministry Department and Agency (MDA) is now required to prepare a stand-alone account which the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation would consolidate.
According to Section 85 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the public accounts of the Federation and all offices and courts of the Federation shall be audited and reported on by the Auditor-General who shall submit his reports to the National Assembly; and for that purpose, the Auditor-General or any person authorised by him in that behalf shall have access to all the books, records, returns and other documents relating to those accounts.
For: D. D. (Information)