The House of Representatives has expressed concerns over the inability of the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) to carry out the audit of 801 federal agencies and parastatals as well as Nigerian foreign missions across the world since 2017.
The lawmakers, during the investigative hearing held by the House Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Hon. Wole Oke, resolved to summon the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed; Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze; Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris; Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan and the chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission.
The lawmakers also frowned at the non-provision of required funds for the recruitment of 611 new staff members needed to bridge the manpower shortfall in the office of the Auditor General of the Federation despite obtaining waiver from the Head of Service of the Federation since 2017.
The Chairman of the committee, Oke, said: “A very critical professional body is being under-funded. Even in fund allocation for the budget, the director-general of the budget office has intentionally and deliberately underfunded the office of the Auditor General so that he won’t be able to discharge its duties and uncover all the illegal criminal activities and lootings going on in the country. On what basis would you be funding agencies that have no value to the economy at the detriment of the Auditor-General’s office?
“From the presentation of the Auditor-General, they are understaffed, and he needs over 600 workers. It will interest you that the Zamfara State has just one staff member; how do we run a country like this? Even in the 2020 budget, the Auditor-General is struggling; funds are yet to be released to him 100 percent. There are critical activities of the office of the Auditor-General aside from financial auditing, and we have programme auditing, we have project auditing, value for money among others, but the Auditor-General is unable to do all these, because its office is underfunded.
“So we’ve resolved to invite the Minister of Finance, the Director of Budget Office, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Head of Service and the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission to appear before this committee.
“One of the reasons is to find out why the Director of Budget has refused to fund the Auditor-General’s office in the area of personnel cost. They have no functional vehicles, personnel of other agencies that you expect the Auditor General to go and audit earn better than staff of Auditor General’s office. And this is a very critical office that needs to wage war against corruption in the land. We would continue to escalate this matter until it gets to the president, that that the Auditor-General’s office is grossly underfunded,” he stated.