‘Independence of Auditor-General’s Office, Crucial for Effective Governance’

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By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

To make the desired impact and be relevant and effective at all levels of governance, the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (OAuF) must be independent
the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayine has said.

Ayine, who spoke when the Conference of Auditors-General for Local Governments in the Federation led by its Chairman, Barrister Reuben Osita Nwosu, paid him a courtesy visit at Audit House, Abuja, commended the move by the National Assembly on the proposed amendment for the independence of the OAuGF and the states.

According to him, he strongly supports the position that the National Assembly should also effect an amendment to specifically include the Office of Auditors-General for Local Governments (AGLG) in the Constitution.
In his view, this will not only guarantee the independence of the Office of the AGLG, but will give confidence and hence enhance job performance at that critical level of auditing, for public accountability.

The Auditor-General for the Federation noted that the House of Representatives had passed the Audit Bill presented to it by his Office, expressing optimism that the Senate will also concur and pass the Audit Bill into law, in order to strengthen the performance of the OAuGF, to achieve professional, administrative and financial independence.
A statement issued by the Deputy Director (Media & Public Relations), Mrs. Olawunmi Ogunmosunle said Ayine called on auditors-general at the federal, state and local government levels in the country to work in synergy, saying their close collaboration and cooperation would greatly enhance the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s war on corruption.

He promised that once these things are done at the federal level, his office will work and collaborate with others to ensure that the same are replicated at the state and local government levels, for the mutual benefit of Nigerians.
The Auditor-General said continuing in its efforts to create synergy among all levels of the Offices of the Auditors-General, the OAuGF appointed a contact person who has the responsibility of interfacing and coordinating the joint collaborative efforts of all the levels of the Offices of the Auditors-General at all levels in the country.
The move, he said, was imperative because of the peculiarity of the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI), Nigeria, which has auditors-general in all the three tiers: federal, state and local governments.

In his address, the Chairman of the Conference of Auditors-General for Local Governments in the Federation, Nwosu, congratulated Ayine on his appointment.
Nwosu expressed confidence that the Auditor-General would promote transparency, accountability and integrity in the Public Financial Reporting of the federal government.
The Chairman also implored the Ayine to help to promote and sustain the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in Nigeria, which are about 73, and ensure uniformity in practice, transparency, accountability and peer-review mechanisms in the SAIs.

He also encouraged Ayine to ensure that SAI Nigeria under his watch and leadership shows clear commitment and collaboration with the federal government in its efforts in the anti-corruption drive in the public financial management of the federal, state and local governments.