Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Federal Audit Service Commission Bill to help fight corruption in Nigeria.
The Audit Bill was sent to President Buhari for assent on January 6, 2019 by the 8th National Assembly.
At a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the executive director of Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) – one of the CSOs , Olusegun Elemo said that the assent would improve the quality of goods and services being delivered to citizens as the body would be conducting performance audits.
Elemo maintained that existing laws, including the pre-independence “Audit Ordinance Act of 1956” and “The Public Account Committee Act, CAP P35, LFN 2004, cannot deal effectively with modern corruption challenges.
“We believe that signing this bill into law will, among other things, increase citizens’ engagement in the audit process and management of public funds,” he said.
He also explained that the assent will provide for the first-line charge for the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation and ensure administrative independence for the Office.
“The comparative analysis of Nigeria and five other countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, South Africa and the United Kingdom with respect to how audit institutions are structured in these countries, provides seamless understanding as to why corruption is at a much higher level in Nigeria.
“Transparency International in its Corruption Perception Index 2018 rated Nigeria 144 with 27 points while Sierra Leone was rated 129, Ghana 78 and United Kingdom 11 with 80 points. These other countries with less corruption have stronger Supreme Audit Institutions,” he said.
Also speaking, the executive director, Step up Nigeria, Onyinye Ough said: “while other Supreme Audit Institutions examined have modern audit law to enable them to function effectively, only Nigeria’s audit office is lacking in this regard.”
Ough further pleaded with Buhari, on behalf of the Civil Society Organizations, to urgently sign the pending Federal Audit Service Commission Bill.