Edo State ranked worst performer in terms of accountability in the management of public finance, scoring 3 per cent of the required information in an assessment report (for 2018 fiscal year) that was conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
Edo State scored 5 per cent in 2018 in the same survey but dropped by 2 points in 2019. In terms of non access to information to rate the state’s handling of state funds, Edo State was rated 97 per cent in 2019, and 95 per cent in 2018.
Some of the states like Rivers and Adamawa which recorded 2 per cent each in 2018, recorded significant improvement in public fine management by 37 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.
Out of the 36 states of the federation, Kaduna state has the highest score of 72.7 per cent of the required information for the survey on public finance, according to the report that was obtained by this Newspaper. Kaduna State improved from 74 per cent in 2018 to 87 per cent in 2018, the report showed.
In general, the entire country showed a low level of transparency. The year’s report showed a 7 per cent improvement over the previous year’s assessment. This is so despite the various regulations and laws in Nigeria mandating the availability of such information for public consumption. “The situation does not only show lack of credibility on the part of governments at all levels; it also shows the need to identify and strengthen all areas militating against public finance management system in Nigeria, ICAN said in reaction to the outcome of the report.
The organisation observed that there is a need to review some of the laws that have become obsolete in the context of recent global and local developments and also harmonise the many laws and regulations dealing with public finance management system in Nigeria.
The assessment was done based on four-grade scoring model: high-level of performance that meets good international practice; sound performance above the basic level; basic level of performance broadly consistent with good international practice and either less than the basic level of performance or insufficiency of information to score.
The report showed an improvement of awareness and responsiveness by the government compared to previous report. Nevertheless, overall performance was poor with an average score per government of 32.4 per cent.