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Absence of auditor-general may stall government’s bid to borrow $29.96b


Senator Danjuma Goje

Senator Danjuma Goje

The Federal Government’s plan to borrow $29.960 billion from external sources may be stalled by some institutional lapses, it was learnt yesterday.

In an interview with some senators, particularly on the Senate Committee on Appropriation, it was learnt that such a request for loans and grants from external sources requires accompanying documents, which only a substantive auditor- general of the federation could approve.

The lawmakers said standards set by global financial institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (ADB) require a confirmation report from a substantive auditor-general before the funds are disbursed to recipient countries.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, expressed doubts over the workability of the loan request.

“I just hope that the Federal Government will succeed in obtaining these loans with the situation on ground,” he said.

Nigeria does not have a substantive auditor-general since the retirement in May of the last one, Mr. Samuel Ukura. The tenure of Mrs. Florence Anyanwu, who is acting in that capacity, has also expired.

The Public Accounts Committee in the two chambers of the National Assembly had observed lack of coordination and poor quality of presentations by staff in the Office of the Auditor- General in the absence of a substantive head.

To that effect, the committee has been urging the executive arm of the Federal Government to get a substantive auditor- general appointed.

It was further learnt that the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) had in a bid to accomplish this task, issued a directive in May 2016 to the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) to get set for the appointment of a new auditor-general for the federation.

The memo from the SGF, with reference 58365/S.3/11/82, dated May 25, 2016, was signed by Mohammed Bukar, Permanent Secretary (General Services) office of the SGF.

The FCSC had in July shortlisted and forwarded the names of three candidates for the position to President Muhammadu Buhari after written and oral interviews.

The shortlisted candidates were Christopher Nyong, Nabasu Bako and Omoniyi Adeyeye.

President Buhari is said to have since forwarded the names of the candidates to a seven-man committee set up by him to determine the best man for the job.

According to a source in the Presidency, the seven-man committee had since submitted its report and its recommendations are awaiting consideration.

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