Four hundred and forty-four (444) federal commissions, agencies, corporations and parastatals are yet to submit the report of their audited accounts to the Auditor General of Federal, the Senate has disclosed.
This is in contravention of Section 85 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) which mandates federal agencies to submit their audited reports to the Auditor General of the Federation for onward transmission to the National Assembly.
The development comes as the Senate has given a deadline of May 2018 to defaulting parastatals in arrears of submission of audited accounts for two years and above, or have their 2018 budget withdrawn.
Presenting his report to the Senate on Wednesday at plenary, Chairman Senate Public Accounts Committee, Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo State), pointed out that of the 491 agencies, only 47 have fully complied by submitting their audited reports of 2017.
The agencies that have complied include: Assets Management Company to Nigeria (AMCON), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Abuja Property Development Company, Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre, National Law Reform Commission, National Agricultural Seeds Council, National Open University, University of Abuja among others.
In all, Urhoghide revealed that 444 agencies are yet to comply.
Giving a breakdown of the defaulters, he gave the number of agencies yet to submit their reports since inception as 85, those in arrears from 11 years and above – four; agencies yet to comply between six and 10 years – 17; those in arrears between three and five years -103; those in arrears between one and two years – 235.
The report of the committee listed some of the agencies yet to submit their reports since inception to include: Bank of Industry (BoI), Bank of Agriculture (BoA), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), FCT Internal Revenue Service, FCT Universal Basic Education Board, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Abuja Infrastructural Investment Centre, National Automotive Council among others.
The report also named parastatals that are yet to submit their audited accounts between six and 10 years to include: Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Insurance Commission, Financial Reporting Council, Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) among others.
The committee chairman observed that many parastatals are unwilling to submit their audited accounts without being compelled, even as he expressed concern that some parastatals do not take accountability in public expenditure seriously.
According to him, the Auditor-General for the Federation seems to place less premium on high profile agencies with huge accounts like the NNPC, NPA, NIMASA, CBN, TETFUND, etc.
“A Parastatal like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) misinterprets the reporting requirement in their enabling Acts to violate the Constitution,” he stated.
Other recommendations of the committee include: urging the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation to constantly update and reconcile with Parastatals on their status of compliance; liaise with the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to clarify status of privatized and merged/scrapped Parastatals; strengthening of the Auditor-General’s Office through the provision of adequate budgetary allocations.