The Senate pledged Tuesday to publish the names of federal government ministries, departments and agencies that have not defended the issues raised against them by the Federation’s Auditor General.
Senate Speaker Ahmad Lawan said this following the presentation of the Senate Public Accounts Committee’s report on the 2015 AuGF report.
Lawan said: “It is one of our main responsibilities as a Parliament to hold the executive to account, and anyone who is given the responsibility and confidence to run an agency with public funds must be accountable to the executive. Parliament on behalf of the people.
“You have indicated a number of MDAs who did not show up to the Committee after invitation.
“I want you to go through your documents, invitation letters or reminders. This Senate will publish the names of these agencies for the public to know.
“This Senate will insist that any public or official who receives public funds for the public good and has questions to answer or has refused to appear to answer, should not have business in government because we are all supposed to be accountable to the people. .
“Therefore, if someone thinks that they will not be responsible, then that person has no business to carry on.
“I also want to say that those who came to defend or explain the Auditor General’s interrogations did the right thing and we must congratulate them for coming, that they succeeded in convincing the committee that the Auditor General did not Wasn’t right or not, they seemed responsible and accountable.
PSPC Chairman Senator Matthew Urhoghide said seven MDAs refused to appear before the panel to defend AuGF’s claims against their agencies.
Urhoghide listed the agencies that did not respond to the Committee’s invitation to defend the claims against them, including the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigerian Police. and federal fire departments.
The others are Ahmadu Bello University Hospital, Zaria, the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture (Information Sector).
He noted that the MDAs who claimed their documents belonged to anti-corruption agencies were Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe, Bayelsa State and the Directorate of Transitional Pensions Arrangements.
Urhoghide said: “In the annual report of the Auditor General of the Federation for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, the Auditor General interviewed a total of 114 ministries, departments and agencies.
“In considering the report, the committee invited all MDAs interviewed, of which 84 made submissions and appeared before the committee to defend the issues raised against them.
“Twenty-one MDAs sent written responses to the Committee but did not appear before the hearing.
“Seven MDAs neither filed a brief nor appeared before the Committee. Two MDAs reported to the Committee that the EFCC or ICPC or both had original copies of their documents and therefore could not respond or appear before the Committee.
“Of the MDAs who appeared before the Committee or whose submissions were reviewed, 46 MDAs had all of their requests quashed.
“Fifty-nine MDAs have had their requests supported by recommendations for consideration and approval by the Senate.
“Please note that some unresolved issues regarding the 2015 report are still pending and that a further report will be presented to the Senate as soon as action is taken.”
Urhoghide warned that a time will come when MDAs who fail to report on their past annual allocations will be blacklisted and denied subsequent credits.
He added that in carrying out the exercise, the Committee observed at all levels the relentless violation of existing rules by MDAs.
According to him, “These procedural violations common among MDAs interviewed included failure to withdraw personal advances in the given fiscal year, granting cash advances in excess of the approved limit of N 200,000.00, the uncooperative attitude of MDAs towards auditors, so that issues that would have been resolved at exit conferences are allowed to linger, resulting in an audit request, extra-budgetary expenditure and a transfer without the approval of the National Assembly.
“The Committee also observed the need to review some of our finance and audit laws and practices to conform to current realities, as well as to further strengthen the office of the Auditor General as a Supreme Instructor in audit in Nigeria.
“For example, the need for the Audit Services Commission Act has remained desirable today as before.
“Likewise, the general accountant of the Federation and the other executive bodies concerned should be invited to urgently revise certain provisions of the Financial Regulations and Treasury circulars.
“For example, pegging cash advances to a maximum of N 200,000.00 is not in line with current market realities.
“From a revenue perspective, the Committee observed an average performance of fifty-five percent by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in prosecuting and collecting tax arrears owed to the government.
“This level of performance displayed by the tax administration, as well as the negative and evasive attitude of the assessed companies towards taxation, left tax arrears of 27 billion naira comprising WHT, VAT, CIT and EDT not collected by the national tax administration, between fiscal years 2012 and 2015. “