The Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) has called on the federal government to speed up the process of enacting modern audit law to limit waste and inefficiency in management and utilization of public funds in the country.
This is even as the initiative noted that the federal government lost N557 billion in five years covering 2013 – 2017 according to a report presented by the organization.
Presenting the report which coincides with the fifth anniversary of the initiative in Abuja titled: “Achieving Accountability and Development in Nigeria” the executive director, Olusegun Elemo stated that the initiative has advocated for several recommendations proposed by the organization to reduce loss of public funds on the part of the federal government.
According to him, “This report examined the compliance of federal ministries, departments, and agencies of government in Nigeria with Public Procurement Act, Financial Regulations, and other relevant laws over a five-year period to ascertain the level of waste and inefficiency in the utilization of public funds and the consequent impact on Nigeria’s development”
Elemo stated that among several recommendations proposed by the organization to reduce loss of public funds on the part of the federal government, the immediate enactment of modern audit law stands out as a priority without which accountability and development will not be achieved
The Lead Researcher, Mr. Osonuga Adedeji while presenting the report highlighted some observations including contravention of provisions of Financial Regulations (2009) and some Treasury Circulars by many MDAs, weak internal control system, misappropriation and misapplication of funds, virement of funds without the approval of the National Assembly, payment for contracts not executed thereby violating Procurement Act.
He also noted payment without vouchers and supporting documents, non-collection of appropriate taxes among others.
On his part, the PLSI Board chair, Arc. Polycarp Gbaja said the organisation has worked hard over the last five years to ensure public funds are adequately accounted for especially at the federal level.
He continued: “While our organization is looking to transferring some of the gains we’ve recorded with our work at the federal level to subnational governments in Nigeria, it must be emphasized that the task of fostering accountability in the management and utilization of public funds has never been easy, but we are committed to it, and we will continue to ensure that accountability necessary for good governance and development of Nigeria becomes a norm.”
The report recommended steps to be taken by the federal government to reduce infractions which include improving skills for performance and accountability in the public service as well as improving corporate governance by the Boards of government statutory corporations, companies, and commissions otherwise called parastatals.