The Senate has vowed to hold back the budget of all government ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, over failure to submit at least two previous years’ audited reports to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, AGF.
The Senate took the stand after adoption of the report of its Committee on Public Accounts.
Senator Matthew Urhoghide (Edo South) the chairman of the committee on Public Accounts had in the report noted that many government parastatals were unwilling to audit their accounts, because there were no prescribed penalties.
“Many parastatals are unwilling to submit their audited report without being compelled while others do not take conformity of public expenditure seriously.
“There are no prescribed penalties for non-timely submission of audited accounts, status of privatized parastatals are not clear. AGF is handicapped due to budgetary constraints and absence of Board of Directors to approve appointments of external auditors has been used as excuse for unaudited reports,” he said.
The committee had in its report noted that 85 parastatals of federal government have never submitted reports of their audit to the Auditor General of the Federation since they were created.
The committee added that 235 parastatals have about one to two years arrears of audited report, 103 have three to five years arrears, 17 have six to 10 years arrears, while four have arrears of 11 years and above.
Commenting on the report, Senate President Bukola Saraki noted that even supervising ministries of the parastatals are implicated: “If we have 497 parastatals and only 47 have sent their audited reports, I think there is a serious problem.
“Now, we find out that the agencies that are even meant to supervise are part of those who have not sent in their audit reports. The Senators promised to strengthen the Office of the Auditor General and gave the parastatals till May to submit their audited reports.
“Now, we have taken a resolution here today to say that unless the remaining agencies do that, their budgets for 2018 is withheld.
Therefore, let us remember that when we are passing the 2018 budget, the committees that are presenting the reports of the parastatals should please confirm to us whether they have complied with the auditor’s report.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Bank of Industry and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), are among the 85 companies that have not submitted their audited accounts for many years.