Auditor General’s Absence Threatens $30bn FG Loan Request | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Auditor General’s Absence Threatens $30bn FG Loan Request

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Posted: Oct 31, 2016 at 4:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Rotimi Akinwumi

Abuja – Facts have emerged that the desire of the Federal Government to borrow about $30 billion from external sources may not materialise after all.

This is due to some institutional lapses in the system.

Though President Muhammadu Buhari has forwarded a letter to the National Assembly requesting legislative backing for the move, it was, however, gathered that some legislators, especially the senators, have raised concerns over the absence of a confirmation report by a substantive Auditor General of the Federation.

It is mandatory that loans and grants from external sources be accompanied by a confirmation report by a substantive Auditor General for the Federation before the funds are released.

The standards set by global financial institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (ADB) required confirmation report from a substantive Auditor General before the funds are disbursed to recipient countries.

However, Nigeria as at today does not have a substantive Auditor General since the retirement in May of the last occupant, Samuel Ukura.

The tenure of Florence Anyanwu, who was appointed in acting capacity, has also expired.

Danjuma Goje, chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, had on Thursday, during an interactive session with the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, expressed doubts over the workability of the loan request.

“I just hope that the Federal Government will succeed in obtaining these loans with the situation on ground”, Goje had stated at the session with the ministers.

The finance minister had, however, assured the Senate committee that necessary steps were being taken by the Federal Government to ensure a smooth sail for the loans.

The Public Accounts Committee in the two chambers of the National Assembly at different sessions with MDAs observed lack of coordination and poor quality of presentations by staff of the Office of the Auditor General in the absence of a substantive head.

The office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) had in May directed the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) to set in motion machinery for the appointment of a new Auditor-General of the Federation.

The memo from the SGF, with reference 58365/S.3/11/82, dated May 25, 2016, was signed by Mohammed Bukar, Permanent Secretary (General Services), Office of the SGF.

The FCSC had in July shortlisted and forwarded the names of three candidates for the position to President Muhammadu Buhari after written and oral interviews.

The shortlisted candidates were Christopher Nyong, Nabasu Bako and Omoniyi Adeyeye.

President Buhari is said to have since forwarded the names of the candidates to a seven-man committee set up by him to determine the best man for the job.

Indication emerged last week that the seven-man committee had since submitted its report and recommendations for approval by the president but the report is said to be kept in abeyance.