Civic Groups urge National Assembly to send new audit bill to Buhari


Civic organisations have asked the National Assembly to conclude legislative activities on the new federal audit service commission bill and send it to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

The groups, Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI), BudgIT Foundation and Connected Development (CODE) said this during a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja.

The groups said they were opposed to the existing audit law, known as “The Audit Ordinance Act of 1956,” as well as “The Public Account Committee Act, CAP P35, LFN 2004”, both of which have rendered the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation ineffective and less efficient.

According to the statement by the groups, the Nigerian Senate on March 1, passed for concurrence the Federal Audit Service Commission Bill 2018. They noted that the House of Representatives had earlier passed this bill on April 19.

The Executive Director of PLSI, Olusegun Elemo, said there is no update on the bill though it is currently with the lawmakers.

”It is important to note that it took the Senate more than 600 days to concur with the bill and even with concurrence, it took more than another 100 days to harmonise this bill.”

Similarly, Hamzat Lawal, the executive director of Connected Development (CODE), said the nation is lagging behind because it still uses the same framework that guides its auditing as far back as 1956.

“As a country and as a people we cannot continue spending without auditing our spending and moving forward; it is important for the leadership of the National Assembly knowing that elections and campaigns seasons will start any moment from now.”

He said if the audit bill is not passed in 2018, ”this will be the 9th National Assembly that had not processed this bill.”

Mr Lawal said Nigeria’s democracy will be under attack if the bill is not passed by the National Assembly.

“I believe that if this bill is passed into law, we would have effective auditing administration in Nigeria but most importantly the general public would have access to this auditing information and then we can use it to hold our government accountable as tax payers,” Mr Lawal said.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the bill will empower the Auditor-General to carry out audits of all revenues accruing to the federation, expenditures of the federation from all sources, donations, grants and loans accruable to ministries, departments and agencies or other public entities.

The bill, after harmonisation by the two legislative arms and assent by the President will establish the Federal Audit Services Commission and the office of Auditor-General of the Federation with provision for additional powers and functions.

The bill, for many, is very essential for preventing the misuse of public funds and also to help the fight against corruption.