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FG tasks auditors-general on adherence to financial rules, regulation

Auditors-General of Local Government Areas across the Federation have been charged to adhere strictly to financial extant rules and regulations in the application of funds to further strengthen grassroots development.

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijani Aliyu, gave the charge yesterday, at the 24th edition of the yearly conference of Auditors-General for Local Governments/Area Councils across the Federation, in Abuja.

Aliyu said: “It is now very obvious that you must imbibe the culture of transparency and accountability in the discharge of your responsibility to bring the needed development to the grassroots, more so that the present administration is doing everything possible to ensure you get direct allocations from the federal government.”

The theme of the Conference is, “Laying the Groundwork for Nigeria’s Public Sector Transformation; the Place of the Auditors-General.”

Aliyu, who was represented by his Special Assistant on FCT Area Council Services, Muhammad Saba, noted that the task before local governments in Nigeria is enormous, hence the need for better performance that will focus on transparency, prudency and accountability in the management of resources at the third tier.

She also called for close monitoring by the offices of the Auditors-General to ensure the provision of dividend of democracy as well as adequate service delivery at the Local Governments/Area Councils level are achieved.

She said: “The importance of the Office of the Auditors-General cannot be over-emphasized especially now that the policy of the government is geared towards fighting corruption, ensuring good governance, transparency, probity and accountability.

“This conference is very apt because of the proposed financial autonomy for the Local Governments/Area Councils, where financial resource allocations would be channelled directly to your accounts, government is interested in the development of the grassroots for overall growth and development of the country.”

She charged participants to come up with a communiqué that will address contemporary audit issues in line with global best practices as it affects the responsibilities of the offices of the Auditors-General as well as improved public financial management at the third-tier of government.

On his part, the Chairman House Committee on Public Account, Oluwole Oke, identified poor stewardship reporting, administrative interference, and inadequately qualified manpower as factors militating against proper auditing of local government accounts in the federation, just as he called on participants to right the wrongs.

“Local government audit is as important as auditing in every other sector of the economy. This is because the local government being the closest government institution to the people demand adequate financial resources, which, if properly controlled would benefit the rural communities,” he noted.

In her address, the Auditor-General, FCT Area Council, Kurdirat Abdul-Hamid, noted that more than 2/3 of Nigeria’s population are domiciled at the grassroots. She stressed that the welfare of the people at this level is paramount and it is the duty of auditors to ensure that citizens at that level and the nation gets what is best for them in terms of providing basic amenities such as infrastructure, education, health, security among others.

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