Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki has called on Auditors General in the country, particularly at the local government level, to partner with the Senate in its current effort to block financial leakages and ensure maximum revenue accrues to government at all levels.
Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Sanni Onogu, gave the charge when the national executive of the Conference of the Auditors General for Local Governments in Nigeria, led by its National Chairman, Mr. Reuben Osita Nwosu, visited him at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
He noted that the visit was apt, coming at a time the 8th Senate was intensifying efforts to enhance government’s non-oil revenue through scrutinisation of revenue generation activities in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and demanding accountability and transparency in their operations.
While noting the concerns of the association regarding granting autonomy to the offices of the auditors general throughout the federation by amending the constitution to strengthen their capacity to carry out their legitimate functions, Saraki said: “In fact, one of the amendments we have carried out is financial autonomy to local governments and I am sure that will go a long way in helping them to have a more transparent and accountable finance system.
“I totally agree with you that in doing that, we must also strengthen the autonomy of the auditors general, because since we are giving those kind of responsibilities to local governments, it is necessary we support that with the necessary tools that will ensure that they are effective, because if you don’t do that, the capacity at the local governments, with those kind of responsibilities, will be defeated.”
Earlier, Nwosu, who led other national executive members on the visit, said the country cannot entrench accountability and transparency in the public service without guaranteed autonomy through administrative and financial independence for auditors general at the three tiers of government.
Nwosu, who is the auditor general for Local Governments in Imo State, said: “With the granting of financial autonomy to the local government councils, there arose a greater need to strengthen the capacity of the office of auditors general for local governments.”
He said the association was excited at the progress made so far in the amendment of the constitution by the National Assembly, adding: “The exercise would greatly remove all constitutional impediments on the granting of autonomy through financial and administrative independence to the office of the auditors general at the federal, state and local governments in the country.”
Source : Signal