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Federal Government breaks Fiscal Rules, Refuses to present audit Report

The Federal Government, National Assembly and Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation’s acclaimed pursuit of transparency and fiscal discipline is being threatened. The threat is coming from the non-presentation of the 2017 audit report on the accounts of the federation, nearly two years after the end of the fiscal calendar.

The 2016 report came with damning findings against the government and its agencies, including the National Assembly. It showed lapses, serial violations of fiscal laws, government’s poor handling of the situation, and the involvement of nearly all agencies. Despite this, none of the state actors seems concerned about the 2017 report. Already, sources at the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, who asked not to be named, are giving contradictory accounts of developments, an indication that there is no clear-cut information about the 2017 audit report in question.

While one of the sources confirmed that the report has been ready since June, but elections and leadership tussle at the National Assembly delayed its presentations, the source nevertheless refused to say what the office has done with a view to presenting the report after the lawmakers’ inauguration.

Another source said the 2017 report has been submitted but has not been officially posted on the website. The informant refused to give a reason for this, and also affirmed that the 2018 accounts are yet to be submitted by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for auditing, nearly one year after the fiscal calendar.

Months after the leadership of the National Assembly emerged, the lawmakers, presidency and auditor-general of the federation have been silent on the all-important document, leaving the country’s accounting process opaque and opening avenues for fiscal malfeasance.Asked to comment, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, said the matter was outside his purview, urging enquiries to be directed to appropriate authorities.

Nigerians, meanwhile, have begun calling out the government on the perceived negligence, accusing it of complicity, poor accountability and lack of transparency. With almost two years after the end of the 2017 fiscal year, some experts have insisted that no leadership or nation that is sincere about transparency and accountability would fail to correct abnormalities, especially when they have become public knowledge.