Benjamin Babine, Abuja
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday said that proper public audit process was needed for government to strategically fight waste and misappropriation of public resources.
Prof Osinbajo, who spoke at the Virtual Workshop of the Office of the Auditor General, stressed that audit wasnot only useful for discovering malfeasance, but will prevent such mismanagement of funds before they occur.
He said: “The focus on the functional responsibilities of these accounting officers of MDAs in audit processes and engagement procedures is crucial for at least two reasons. First, the public audit process is central to any meaningful strategy to fight waste or misappropriation of public resources. This is so because the audit is not only useful for discovering malfeasance, it is also one of the most potent preventive measures.
“Second, an audit can be advertently or inadvertently frustrated by poor synergy between the auditor and the auditee. This appears to be at least, a cause for concern for the office of the auditor general. Indeed, it seems to me that this workshop may not have been as urgent as it is but for the fact that auditors have difficulties with doing their duty because often, audit queries are not responded to and this is a lapse worsened by the absence of sanctions for these derelictions.”
Osinbajo noted that there have been several agitations for the reengineering of the whole public auditing process so as to achieve the robust external audit framework that the Nigerian public service environment requires and deserves. “This may involve legislation to provide greater independence to the apex audit institution, and even an audit law may be required to strengthen the legislative framework for external audit. Tackling these issues is crucial given the enormity of the audit responsibilities in the Nigerian public service,” he said.