Senate on Wednesday advised the federal government to invest more in stopping corruption rather than fighting it in order to achieve the desired results of blocking funds leakages and boosting the nation’s economy.
Specifically, the upper legislative chamber urged the government to ensure adequate funding of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation, OAuGF if it’s truly serious in ending corruption in the country.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South) made the call yesterday in Abuja when the Auditor General of the Federation, AuGF, Mr. Anthony Ayine appeared before the committee for 2019 budget defence of the OAuGF.
Urhoghide maintained that it would be difficult for the government to achieve any meaningful results in its fight against corruption when the AuGF, which should prevent the act of indiscipline is underfunded while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has adequate funds for its activities.
“I wondered that the EFCC has a whooping N22billion in 2019 budget while the Auditor General’s Office has just N3billion. I don’t think they (Executive) believe in this office, if not they will not be underfunding it every year.
“If this administration really want to achieve much in transparency and probity of public funds, it is better to invest in stopping corruption instead of fighting it”, he stressed.
Urhoghide, however, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently sign into law the Federal Audit Bill before him to give strong backing to the fight against corruption in the country, saying this would guarantees and safeguards operational independence of the OAuGF.
“When the Bill is passed into law, the Auditor-General shall be vested with additional powers to inquire into, examine, investigate and report as he considers necessary on the expenditure of public monies and money advanced or granted to a private organization or body in which the federal government has controlling interest”, he said.
He added that “the administrative autonomy will enable the OAuGF attract quality human capital at competitive standards for improved efficiency; as recruitment of members of staff will now be conducted professionally by the Federal Audit Service Commission”.
Speaking, the AuGF, Ayine said much was achieved by the Office in 2018 budget performance, especially in the areas of training and re-training of staff, and provision of working tools for them as parts of ongoing reforms by the management.
He also disclosed plan to recruit 969 new staff members this year to further improve the performances of the Office, saying some of them would retire and needed to be replaced so as not to create vacuum.
On the inadequate funding of the OAuGF, Ayine said “it has been a recurring problem that has led to the underperformance of the Office”.
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