By Michael Odiah
The Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF), Mr Anthony Ayine FCA has urged Auditors-General of the 36 states in the country to examine how budgets are prepared, executed and accounted for in order to evaluate achievements and get desired outcomes.
The country’s Auditor-General gave this charge at the 47th Conference of Body of Federal and State Auditors-General holding at Orchid Hotel, Asaba, said, “As Auditors-General, we must begin to re-examine our audit approach and evaluate our contributions toward strengthening our accountability systems. We must begin to look beyond procedural and compliance matters. Let me remind you that as Auditors-General, you have responsibility under statutes to promote transparency, accountability and prudent management of public resources; expose corruption and other forms of mal-feasance in the system; strengthen and uphold at all times, the independence and integrity and above all, deepen the value and relevance of Annual Audit Reports.”
He stressed that as Auditors, they were expected to critically evaluate and examine revenue and expenditure controls, surrounding legal systems reform, tax reforms, efficiency and capacity building reforms, internal control breaches, corruption matters, etc.
While speaking on the theme of the conference, “Diversifying the Nigerian Economy: What Options”, Mr Ayine noted that is appropriate at a time the country passing through harsh economic challenges. “It is imperative that viable options to diversify the Nigeria economy be searched for, developed and implemented, noting that, debates for economic diversification has been going on for decades in Nigeria, but has practically not produced any realistic results.”
Speaking further, the Auditor-General maintained that diversification of the Nigerian economy will have real value and meaning if there are transparent and accountable public policies cum prudent financial management of public resources adding that Auditor-Generals must re-examine their auditing approach, evaluate their contributions towards strengthening accountability systems and begin to look beyond procedural cum compliance matters.
Ayine commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his unwavering commitment in fighting corruption stating that his directive on response to Audit queries shortly on assumption of Office was also an unequivocal support towards strengthening the Audit Institution as a critical Agent in the accountability process.
Speaking earlier, the Auditor-General of Delta state, Mr C.G. Amudo in his welcome address, thanked the State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa for his support towards the conference saying “This Conference is the 47th in the series and in all these years, this happens to be the very first time the state is hosting.”
Amudo disclosed that the office of the Auditor-General in the state was left without a substantive Auditor-General for two and half years since the exit of the immediate past Auditor General; Mr James Udoma Iwube on the 18th of May 2013 until the 15th day of December 2015 when His Excellency, Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa restored the dignity of the audit institution of the state by appointing a substantive auditor-general which was just six months into Sen. Okowa’s Administration.