The Senate committee on public accounts has revealed that 85 government parastatals have failed to submit their audited accounts to the Auditor-General of the Federation since the time of their establishment.
The parastatals include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
The Chairman of the committee, Matthew Uroghide (Edo-PDP) said the 85 parastatals have never submitted reports of their audit to the Auditor General of the Federation since they were created.
For other parastatals, he said 235 have about one to two years arrears, 103 have three to five years arrears, 17 have six to 10 years arrears while four have arrears of 11 years and above.
He said the practice contravened the provisions of section 85 (3) of the constitution which vested the powers to audit the public accounts, offices and courts of the federation with the Auditor-General of the Federation.
He added that the Auditor-General has been facing the challenge of making the parastatals comply with the provisions of the constitution.
“Many parastatals are unwilling to submit their audited report without being compelled while others do not take conformity of public expenditure seriously.
“There are no prescribed penalties for non-timely submission of audited accounts, status of privatised parastatals are not clear.
“AGF is handicapped due to budgetary constraints and absence of Board of Directors to approve appointments of external auditors has been used as excuse for unaudited reports,” he said.
Adopting the report of the committee, the Senate resolved to withhold the 2018 budgetary approvals for parastatals who have not submitted their reports since inception and those who have six to 10 years arrears.
The senators gave a deadline of May 2018 to others who have over 2 years arrears.
The senate mandated the Auditor-General to ‘constantly update and reconcile with parastatals with the compliance’ with a pledge to strengthen the office through budgetary allocation.
The lawmakers also mandated the Auditor-General to liaise with Bureau of Public Enterprise and Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to clarify the status of ”privatised, merged or scrapped parastatals”. ( Premium Times)