The Auditor General for the Federation (AGF), Anthony Ayine, has asked members of the National Assembly to take steps to clear mounting backlogs of audit reports submitted to them.
Ayine said that there was no doubt that corruption has stifled economic growth and development in the country.
The AGF stated this in a paper “The role of National Assembly in promoting public accountability” which he presented at the ongoing orientation programme for Senators-elect/members-elect of the 9th National Assembly, in Abuja.
Ayine noted that to the best of his knowledge, there is no Auditor-General’s report that has been fully considered by the National Assembly since 1999.
He explained for audit reports to be seen to have been fully considered after submission, a resolution of the National Assembly on the audit report must be transmitted to the Executive arm for necessary action.
He explained that for audit report to be submitted to the National Assembly, “we work with the financial report of the Accountant General of the Federation financial report.”
The AGF said that they were already working on the 2017 financial report for submission to the National Assembly for consideration.
He said that the last report submitted to the National Assembly was for year 2016.
Good governance, he said, will remain a mirage in the country, without transparency (openness) and accountability.
Ayine said: “Corruption has stifled economic growth and development in our country. I am therefore optimistic that synergistic effects of efforts of the three arms of government in ensuring openness and accountability can put Nigeria on a good pedestal and enable her attain her place in the comity of nations where corruption is despised.
“The two Public Accounts Committees (PACs) (of the National Assembly) should draw up time table for clearing backlogs of audit reports.”
The AGF noted that accountability has to do with stewardship while openness is important because nothing is hidden, a situation that makes corruption impossible.
Ayine, who stressed the need for a paradigm shift in the country, noted that the National Assembly could lead the way in being transparent through a demonstration of public accountability in handling its affairs, including finances.
He noted: “Transparency allows access to information, reinforces accountability and makes corruption difficult to be successfully perpetrated because corruption is usually a hidden affair.”
He insisted that the Public Accounts committees should ensure timely consideration of audit reports as well as take a dim view of late responses to audit queries by ministries, departments and agencies.
For the AGF, public accountability will be greatly enhanced, if those in public positions begin to see governance as a social contract for the people they represent and realize that they are responsible to the public.