Improving the effectiveness of Federal Audit Process and Reforms within the auditing system is a project that ought to be incorporated in the agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria to intensify the efforts of the government towards the fight against corruption.
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) through its publication on the “Higher Decibels of Accountability: Delineating the Contours of Audit Reforms” proposed a good number of strategic means towards reforming the Federal Audit system in Nigeria.
Audit is an indispensable part of regulatory system whose aim is to reveal deviations from accepted standards and violations of the principles of legality, efficiency, effectiveness. Thus, if the incumbent government whose major concern is the fight against corruption and recovery of embezzled funds by public office holders can encourage projects geared to reform of the audit system in Nigeria, this will go a long way to curb the menace of stealing and embezzling public funds by most Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government.
Under the extant arrangement, there is no Audit Service Commission which ideally should be responsible for recruitment, promotion, discipline, pensions and benefits of audit staff. The Auditor-General for the Federation relies on another government department for its operations and this affects the constitutionally guaranteed independence of the Auditor-General for the Federation. As part of the reform issues and efforts captured in the 2016 Audit Report by the office of the Auditor-General for the federation, resource constraints and a lack of financial and operational independence had affected the quality of the audit function over decades. In addition, there was an ineffective relationship with the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly and other external stakeholders. Although there was some evidence of efforts by some of the senior management to develop the OAuGF, there was no structured approach to managing the reform process.
Prior to 2015 the World Bank supported the Office through the ERGP7 to build the capacity of the Office. Through a MoU with the office, AFROSAI-E also provided technical support for the office in the form of training in Regularity, Financial, Performance and IT Audits. However, these interventions were not rigorously pursued and their impacts were not sustained.
Gregory T. Okere,Lagos.