In international auditing circles, Nigeria is a pariah that nobody wants to touch with a long pole, Mr Samuel Ukura, Auditor-General of the Federation, has disclosed
This because Nigeria is about the only country in the world without a “functional audit act”.
Addressing a joint public hearing of the Public Accounts and Justice Committees at National Assembly in Abuja November 4, on a bill to repeal the Audit Act 1956, Ukura condemned the non-existence of an auditing act in Nigeria
“The 1956 colonial provision was removed from our laws in 2004 thus making Nigeria the only country in the world without a functional auditing act. It is an inadequacy that had robbed the country of the opportunity of auditing international accounts, “including the ECOWAS account, which headquarters is in Abuja here’’.
“Ghana audited the United Nation’s account for 30 years, and then passed the baton to South Africa, which is currently auditing the UN accounts.
“Nigeria had been severally denied because the UN has been uncomfortable with Nigeria’s lack of auditing law.
“It is very rare to see an MDA coming to the National Assembly with a bill to have its finances audited.
“This bill, therefore, will put an end to the lingering question of who audits the auditor,’’ he said.
Ukura said it would be impossible for the Office of Auditor-General to fight corruption without having the legal means to do so.
In a brief contribution, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Account, Solomon Olamilekan (APC-Lagos) said when passed into law, the bill would impact on the society and “add value to Nigeria’s financial system.”
Earlier the decamped Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, who opened the two public hearings had arrived the National Assembly driving himself following the withdrawal of his security detail after he decamped the PDP for the APC.
In his address Tambuwal urged financial experts to support an Audit Act, to facilitate international best practices and assist to eliminate corruption from the financial system.
Stressing that Nigeria ought to align with modern trends in digital auditing, he pointed out that the 60-year-old Audit Act did not give the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation the required instrument to fight corruption.
“The new act, when passed into law, will create an Audit Service Commission that will enable Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation to restructure auditing practice in the country and incorporate digital auditing.”
He said the public hearing has the dual objective offering financial experts ample opportunity to make inputs in the bill and at the same time allow the parliamentarians the platform to gather sufficient information to impact on the overall interest of the bill.
Tambuwal also urged participants to contribute meaningfully by ensuring that all aspects of the bill were thoroughly x-rayed and brought in line with international auditing practices.