Posted by News Express | 30 May 2021 | 754 times
By TONY AKOWE, Abuja
A report signed by the former Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine, has alleged that several MDAs failed to remit over N20.675 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) topping the list of unremitted Revenue worth N7.585 billion.
In the report that alleged significant weaknesses in expenditure control, accounting and financial reporting and in the completeness and accuracy of the consolidated financial statements of the federal government, the AuGF also indicted about 436 government agencies for failing to submit their audited account as required by law between 2016 and 2017 thereby violating statutory financial reporting obligations by Parastatals.
In his 2017 audit report submitted to the National Assembly, dated 22nd July 2019 and addressed to the Clark to the National Assembly, the then Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine said stringent sanctions, including withholding financial releases and sanction of the Chief Executive Officer should be imposed on defaulting Agencies who do not render timely accounts, as provided in the Constitution, Financial Regulations and other relevant laws.
The 2017 AuGF report seen by The Nation said that the 160 agencies failed to submit their audited account to the Auditor General of the Federation in 2016; 265 agencies defaulted in 2017, while 11 agencies have never submitted their audited account.
Some of the weaknesses identified in the report include lack of a proper plan for IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards), Implementation, low levels of accrual accounting and financial reporting competence among finance staff, poor understanding of what IPSAS Implementation requires.
It also identified non-compliance with National Treasury Circulars, no evidence of a functional IPSAS Implementation plan and gap analysis, financial rules and regulations that have not been reviewed to suit the implementation of IPSAS and weaknesses in the arrangements for accounts consolidation.
Some of the agencies indicted by the report for non-remittance of percentages of their internally generated revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federation are Federal University, Dutsinma (N31.46 million), University of Abuja (N603.44 million), Federal University Owerri (N748.17 million), Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (N355.05 million), National Examination Council (N6.688 billion), Bureau for Public Enterprises (N7.585 billion), National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (N206.68 million), Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (N127.09 million) and Security and Exchange Commission (N2.297 billion) among others.
Federal University, Dutsinma (N14.616 million), Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurum (N85.100 million), Kaduna Polytechnic (N438.768 million), University of Abuja (N35.247 million), University of Uyo (N635.700), Federal University, Dutse (N20.145), National Power Training Institute of Nigeria N38.069 million), National Centre for Women Development (N135.200 million), Nigeria Railway Corporation (N122.242 million), among others.
It said “Revenue Generating Agencies and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies who deduct the statutory Withholding Taxes, Value Added Taxes, Stamp Duty, Capital Gains Tax and other statutory taxes did not carry out their duties appropriately to the benefit of the Federal Government, thereby leading to a significant reduction in revenue accruable to the Federal Government.
“We also found that Revenue Generating Agencies dissipate funds on excessive overhead expenditure and extra-budgetary expenditure on contracts thereby reducing their operating surplus.
“Furthermore, twenty-six (26) of the MDAs that were audited did not deduct and/or remit a total of N1,650,417,379.30 (One billion, six hundred and fifty million, four hundred and seventeen thousand, three hundred and seventy-nine naira, thirty kobo).
“Overall, audit found that the sum of N20,675,801,479.59 (Twenty billion, six hundred and seventy-five million, eight hundred and one thousand, four hundred and seventy nine naira, fifty nine kobo) in various Taxes (PAYE, WHT, VAT, etc.) in the year under review, was not remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The report also said several government agencies have developed the habit of not responding promptly to audit queries issued by his office, thereby hampering the smooth execution of the assigned responsibilities.
The Auditor General said “I am required by Section 85 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), to submit my Report on the audit of the Accountant-General’s Financial Statements to the National Assembly within 90 days of receipt of the Statements from the Accountant-General of the Federation.
“The Financial Statements of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the year ended 31st December, 2017, were first submitted to me by the Accountant-General of the Federation on 20th December, 2018.
“Following my preliminary observations, the Statements were significantly amended and resubmitted on 26th April, 2019. In accordance with Sections 85 (2) and (5) of the Constitution, I have examined and certified the accounts subject to the comments and observations contained in this.
“I have audited the financial statements of the Federal Government of Nigeria, which comprise the statement of financial position as at December 31, 2017, and the statement of financial performance, statement of changes in equity and statement of cash flows for the year then ended, and notes to the financial statements, including a summary of significant accounting policies.
“In my opinion, except for the effects of the matters described in the Basis for Qualified Opinion Section of this report, the accompanying Financial Statements present fairly in all material respects, the financial position of the Federal Government of Nigeria as at December 31, 2017, and (of) its financial performance and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
“In accordance with the provisions of the Finance (Control and Management) Act, Cap F26 LFN 2004, the Accountant-General of the Federation is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the Financial Statements of the Federal Government of Nigeria, in accordance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
“The Accountant-General has thus prepared and submitted to me for audit the Financial Statements as reproduced at Section 12 of my report, in accordance with Section 24 of the Finance (Control and Management) Act and Section 85(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)”.
He said further that “the Financial Statements of Government Statutory Corporations, Companies, Commissions, etc., otherwise called Parastatals are not audited by my Office, in line with Section 85(3) (a) of the 1999 Constitution.
“A summary of the number of defaulting Agencies that have not submitted audited accounts: 160 agencies defaulted in submission of audited accounts for 2016; 265 agencies defaulted in submission of audited accounts for 2017; while 11 agencies have never submitted any financial statements since inception”.
He disclosed that “a number of major weaknesses and lapses in the management of public funds and resources were identified across several MDAs during the annual audit. A separate section is therefore included in this annual report to highlight the key issues.
“Our findings range from irregular expenditures to failure to surrender surplus revenues to the Treasury, all running into billions of naira. Also notable was the continuing failures in the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
“Overall, our findings are indicative of significant weaknesses in expenditure control, accounting, and financial reporting and in the completeness and accuracy of the consolidated financial statements.
“The performance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and their Accounting Officers in responding promptly to audit observations are yet to improve. The 9th Assembly presents a fresh opportunity for the Public Accounts Committees to achieve a positive impact in this regard by ensuring sanctions for non-responsive behaviour by Accounting Officers and their Management.” (The Nation)
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