CSO laments poor accountability in 34 states

CSO laments poor accountability in 34 states

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A civic-tech organisation, Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative, has said that the poor implementation of audit law is hindering transparency and accountability in 34 states.

The group, which carried out a Subnational Audit Efficacy on all the states of the federation, found that citizens’ participation in the audit process was quite poor across 17 states.

Presenting the Subnational Audit Efficacy Index in Abuja on Thursday, the PLSI Executive Director, Segun Elemo, noted that the Public Accounts Committees in 31 Houses of Assembly were not quite effective.

Elemo also said that the lawmakers were found to lack the required capacity to perform their statutory oversight functions on public accounts or were unwilling to do so.

According to him, the methodology for the 2021 SAE Index was expanded to include six scoring criteria, including audit legal framework, audit mandate, type of audit document produced and published, type of audit conducted, and citizens’ participation in the audit process and role of public accounts committees.

Elemo stated, “The SAE Index 2021 ranked Bauchi and Osun States first, having scored 88 per cent while Akwa Ibom and Ekiti States occupied third and fourth places, scoring 86 per cent, respectively.

“Adamawa, Delta, Ebonyi and Gombe scored 70 per cent and graded 12th as Lagos and Benue States were rated 35th and 36th having got 41 per cent and 39 per cent in that order.

“While there is a visible improvement in enacting audit legal framework in virtually 36 states except for Anambra and Benue States, implementation of these laws has been disappointingly slow in most states despite issuance of letters by many state governments instructing relevant agencies to commence implementation.”

The PLSI director further outlined a few cross-cutting recommendations to improve public finance management practices at the subnational level, including the need for governors to enhance the implementation of new audit laws, especially the financial autonomy clause.

He also recommended the provision of independent technology infrastructure to support the work of the supreme audit institutions at the sub-national level as well as the need to specify a timeline for review of audit reports by the public accounts committees and adhere to such timeline, among others.

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