Reps seek financial autonomy for auditor-general’s office

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts has called for both administrative and financial autonomy for the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to ensure optimal performance and transparency in its operations.

The Chairman of the committee, Oluwole Oke, who made the call at the 2022 budget defence session with the office in Abuja on Thursday, said he had sponsored a bill to grant the autonomy which had already passed the second reading at the House.

Oke stated that “caging” the operations of the “all-important office” through financial and administrative control limits transparency and accountability.

The lawmaker cited an instance in the Auditor General’s report, where it was established that between 2013 and 2020, a total sum of N7tn was spent from the Service Wide Vote on the office, parastatals and agencies under it, without the office feeling any impact or having any knowledge of such expenditure.

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Oke noted that such a serious infraction on the part of the executive arm of government that controls the SWV would have been followed to its logical conclusion if the office had been autonomous.

The committee advised the auditor-general to embark on intensive lobbying to effect an increase in its annual budgetary allocations, while assuring the office that the committee would liaise with the leadership of the House, with a view to placing the office on the First Line Charge in budgetary funding.

Consequently, Oke constituted a seven-man sub-committee headed by the Deputy Committee of the committee, with members drawn from the six geopolitical zones in the country, to work with the office towards producing a report that would facilitate the direct funding of the office.

Earlier, the Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr Adolphus Aghughu, had announced a proposed budget of N9.64bn for 2022.

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