Wednesday, November 11, 2020 / 10:46 AM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTVNG
Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that fail to remit their funds to the federation account should not receive appropriation going forward. This was the major takeaway from the presentation of the report "Above the Law: How Ministries, Departments and Agencies are Getting Away With Corruption In Nigeria" by the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project (SERAP) in Lagos.
The event which took place on a virtual platform, brought together media representatives, civil society organizations, professionals, government agencies and concerned citizens in the country. Giving the opening remarks the Deputy Director of SERAP Mr. Kolawole Oluwadare described the report presentation as an assessment of the 2017 Auditor-General of the Federation's report, which highlighted the recurring challenges of transparency and accountability in the activities of MDAs in the country.
He said the event was an opportunity for stakeholders to dissect the report as analyzed by SERAP, with a view to ascertaining what the challenge is and how it can be addressed.
In his remarks the Deputy Director of the Mac Arthur Foundation, Mr. Dayo Olaide, who represented the Director, described SERAP as a leading Non-Governmental Organization in Nigeria that is speaking out against corruption.
According to him SERAP was doing a great job of calling out MDAs that err in their roles and assignment.
He decried the fact that amidst the various reports that have come from the Accountant General's office from 2014 to 2017 revealing how MDAs have failed to remit or account for funds they have received, it was surprising that the executive has not taken action.
Mr. Dayo Olaide also cited the Auditor General's report of 2016 that showed 323 MDAs did not submit their report, while it further stated that 69 MDAs never submitted audited reports (Currently now 11).
He tasked the Auditor-General to make the full disclosure of the report to the leadership of the National Assembly, who should perform their oversight function and call the executive to take action.
Providing insights from the report, Mr. Olusegun Elemo, the Executive Director, Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative believed the media has a key role to play in sustaining the discussions on the "Autonomy of the Auditor-General's Office".
"The Media should bring the issues around the reports of the Auditor General's office to the front burner. The Independence of the Auditor General's Office must be addressed thoroughly" He said.
Elemo said Nigeria's major challenge in the fiscal space was revenue leakages, which has been the bane of the nation.
He blamed some of the Accounting Officers in the MDAs who have been responsible for undermining and breaching provisions and laws like the 'Financial Regulation 2302 (Payment Voucher for Stores) and Financial Regulation 2107 (Store Ledger and Usage)'.
The event featured a panel session that explored "Corruption In MDAs and its Impact on Public Services In Nigeria" with Mr. Adesina Fagbenro-Byron, a Governance consultant, Mr. Olaniyi Olaleye, a Research Analyst with BudgIT and Mr Olusegun Elemo as discussants.