For failing to have their accounts audited over several years, the Senate may withhold approval for the 2018 budget of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and many of the 491 statutory agencies and departments of the federal government.
While NPA belongs to the category of organisations that have not audited their accounts for between four and five years, NIMASA and others in the same category have not audited their accounts for over six years.
Other prominent organisations with six-year arrears are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, National Health Insurance Scheme, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, National Insurance Commission, and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency.
The Senate at its plenary on Wednesday received a report from its Committee on Public Accounts on the ‘Status of Compliance of Parastatals’ Submission of Audited Accounts’ where it expressed dismay with the failure of federal agencies to have their accounts regularly audited as required by law. It then decided to withhold approval their 2018 budgets until reports of their audited accounts up to 2017 are presented.
According to the report, only about 10 per cent of the 491 bodies had presented reports of their audited reports to the Auditor-General of the Federation, as required by Section 85(3) of the Constitution.
To be affected by the deadline are 256 bodies that have not filed their reports in over two years or never at all; while 235 are either up to date or have arrears of two years and below.
In the report, the committee said 85 bodies had never submitted their reports since their creation.
Most prominent in this category are the Ajaokuta Steel Company, Ajaokuta, Kogi State; Bank of Agriculture, Kaduna; Bank of Industry, Abuja; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abuja; Nigeria Football Federation, Abuja; and the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Abuja.
The report also said 47 bodies had fully complied, while those with arrears of between one and two years were 235; those between three and five years were 103; those between six and 10 years were 17; while those with 11-year arrears and above were four.
Most prominent among those who have arrears of more than two years are the Bureau of Public Enterprises (8), Bureau of Public Procurement (7), Debt Management Office (6), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (7), Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (6), Financial Reporting Council (6), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (6).
Organisations such as the Corporate Affairs Commission, National Pension Commission, National Bureau of Statistics, Securities and Exchange Commission alongside NPA also have between four and five years arrears.
“Many parastatals are unwilling to submit their audited accounts without being compelled and this is in violation of their establishment Acts. Some parastatals do not take accountability in public expenditure seriously.
“There are no prescribed penalties for offenders of non-timely submission of audited accounts. There are serious consequences for this offence in other climes,” the committee noted in listing its findings.