BusinessDay

19 Nigerian states rank low in transparency, accountability – Audit Report

A new audit report has ranked 19 states in Nigeria low in transparency and accountability in the use of public funds and overall governance.

The report titled “Sub-national Audit Efficacy (SAE) Index 2020 and revealed by Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) ranks 12 states as states with the most potent audit process in Nigeria having scored 70 percent.

The states include Delta, Jigawa, Kaduna, Lagos, Niger, Rivers, Zamfara, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Cross River, Edo, and Ekiti.

Also, Anambra, Borno, Yobe, Katsina, and Gombe occupied scored 60 percent while the remaining 19 states scored 40 percent and below. Enugu is the least with 20 percent.

Olusegun Elemo, PLSI executive director, while analysing the report at a virtual press conference also said that 50 percent of states in Nigeria do not have Modern Audit Laws.

The executive director blamed this poor accountability and transparency on the lack of independence of the state legislature, judiciary, and the lack of citizen participation.

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He said, ” There are serious issues of accountability in governance especially at the sub-national level, we don’t even know how much government spends on security votes and how they utilise these votes and other budgetary allocations.

“Citizens are crying every day that services aren’t delivered to them or are not efficiently delivered to them .”

“It is disappointing to know that 50 percent of the states including Sokoto, Imo, Osun, Benue, and Anambra do not have modern audit laws that should guarantee the independence of the auditor-general in their states and enhance effective stakeholder involvement in their states’ audit process.”

He, however, noted that Some states including Zamfara, Delta, Kano, and Edo are however showing progress in having enacted modem audit laws and should be encouraged to do more.

The director disclosed that the SAE index 2020 was assessed using each sub-national entity’s fiscal information, legal framework, and stakeholder involvement in the public audit cycle.

According to him, the report is the first of its kind in Nigeria and Africa.

Also speaking, Sam Waldock, head of Governance, Conflict and Social Development, British High Commission said the United Kingdom has endorsed the call to ensure the independence of the state legislature and judiciary including their financial autonomy to ensure transparency and accountability.

Waldock also said that the UK has expended some 100 million pounds in strengthening civil society institutions and the democracy in Nigeria in the last five years.

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