Transparency is crucial for advancement of a better Nigeria- Auditor-General

L-R: Auditor-General For the Federation, Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayine and the Honourable Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu
The Auditor-General For the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine flanked by Director (HRM) FMPR, Alh. Ibrahim Mariga and the Permanent Secretary, FMPR, Mr. John Igboigbe

ABUJA (OAuGF’ Report)- The Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayine has emphasized the fact that transparency is very essential in the efforts of advancement of a better Nigeria.

Mr Ayine made this statement when he visited the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu on Thursday June 22, 2017 in Abuja.

According to him the essence of Audit is for value addition and the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation (OAuGF) is desirous of having a good working relationship and adding value to the operations of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC).

During the visit the Minister identified the role of the OAuGF as crucial to the achievement of the Nation’s developmental goals.

The Minister, who also identified audit as an important element of governance, said the OAuGF has the onerous responsibility of ensuring that Federal Government resources are well managed and utilized.

He explained that the Management of the Corporation intends to continue with its open door policy approach and will always be ready to engage and respond positively to issues raised by stakeholders in clearing areas of doubt in its operations.

Dr Kachukwu revealed that the Ministry has transmitted from being a supervisory body to a huge income driving Ministry with over $10 billion income earning capacity despite falling crude oil prices.

In his presentation the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr Anthony Ayine said the OAuGF has a critical and constitutional mandate of ensuring that all revenue due to the Federation of Nigeria are received and fully accounted for and also to ensure that any revenue generating leakages are identified and reported on, with appropriate recommendations, hence the need for the Ministry of Petroleum Resource, NNPC Group and the OAuGF to have a good working relationship.

Speaking further, the Auditor-General pointed out the necessity for the authorized staff of the OAuGf to have access to subsidiary documents of Joint Ventures Operational and also carry out checks in the Liquefied National Gas Companies. He said this is necessary for the purpose of transparency, accountability and in the national interest.

Mr Ayine also noted that the Financial Regulations (FR) 3210(v) provides, that Audited Accounts of bodies established by the Acts of Parliament (parastatals) should be submitted to the OAuGF not later than 31st May of the following year. He said it is therefore worrisome; that the last Audited Annual Financial Statements (or accounts) submitted to the Office, is that of the financial year ended 31st December, 2010.

He however, requested for assistance in the areas of capacity building for some of the officers of the OAuGF in some relevant technical areas of oil and gas.

In his response to the Auditor General’s observations and requests, the Minister who noted that the visit was the first of any AuGF to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources since assumption of office, promised to cooperate fully with the OAuGF.

He assured that when the Ministry is doing the audit of its joint ventures and companies, the OAuGF would be involved and included in the team. He also gave the assurance that the Ministry will ensure that representatives of OAuGF have easy access to all the documents they require to carry out their audit checks.

Dr Kachukwu gave the assurance of the willingness of the Ministry to assist with the training of some officers of the OAuGF, including engaging them in internship programmes.

The Minister revealed that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has observed some gaps and also identified some differences in the operations of its Agencies and the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (NEITI).

He said in the Ministry’s bid to bridge these gaps, it is organizing an interactive meeting between its Agencies and NEITI. He promised to invite and involve the OAuGF in the meeting.