NLC to partner auditor-general on budget implementation
Speaking in Abuja, on Budget Implementation in Nigeria, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, berated government agencies, parastatals, and departments for not implementing the recommendations of the audit reports from the office of the AGF.
Wabba noted that the budgetary circle in Nigeria is gradually becoming more of a ritual that a planned spending pattern of government within a specified period of time.
He said: “The fact is that there is the little impact that is recorded. In fact, the budgeting system in Nigeria has become a ritual where every year we come to render ritual and it goes on like that. At the end of the day when you look at the performance of the budget, or what we have been able to achieve through the budget, I think we have not been doing a post-mortem exercise of what have we been able to achieve actually.
“For instance, the year ending 2019, what is the performance of the budget? Where are the projects located? Can we actually see the projects? Has the money not been carted away? These are issues that we need to address. That is why the office of the Accountant General of the Federation has, and he has come out clearly to say that accounts of many agencies are not audited and where audits have been done, audit reports and recommendations are not respected. We call on the government to put its house in order.
“We are going to partner with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to raise issues about its reports and how to get them implemented. Indeed, the office of the Auditor General of the Federation has been reduced to a mere NGO because his report is not taken seriously.”
He hinted that Congress will engage the government and will equally come out with a clear policy document that can be used to do serious engagement with the government and its agencies.
“It is about getting information, about taking a decision; it is also about producing policy documents that will assist both the NLC and her affiliates, the civil society allies to do proper engagement. The issue of budget is so important in Nigeria, although it is also controversial because we have always examined budget at the national level while paying less attention to government agencies and parastatals. This is especially the big ones that have large budgets such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, NIMASA, NNPC, and Customs, whose budgets run into several billions of Naira,” he lamented.
Wabba added: “Most times, our attention is not focused on these budgets and the money is so humongous,” which he said underscores the need to enthrone accountability and transparency. “Closely related to the issue of the budget is the issue of accountability and transparency because most of these budgets that are implemented by ministries, departments and agencies, in most cases they are not accountable, and that has been pointed out clearly.
“Part of fighting corruption is to ensure that scarce resources are managed in such a way that citizens are able to benefit. Effective fight against corruption will address the issue of inequality; it can also address the issue of poverty, tackle unemployment and most importantly, such fight can result in the effective functioning of most of our critical infrastructure.
“Today you see the standards of our roads, you see the budget what was provided to build a standard road, but when the road is completed, give it three years, you will find out that the road is almost gone. That is why when you compare the road that is being built now and the roads that were built in the 60s and 80s, those roads are still standing. These are a lot of contradictions that our engagement with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation will help resolve going forward.”
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