President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said no one in government should be afraid of audit if they have done the right thing.
Buhari made the remark while encouraging public servants to see audit as a means of improving their performance and not as a threat.
Declaring open the second edition of the conference of Auditors-General in Nigeria, Buhari challenged auditors to adhere to the professional code of conduct guiding their operations, while ensuring timely and quality review of financial performance of public officers.
A statement signed by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina and forwarded to DAILY POST said the president also charged Auditors-General in Nigeria to maximize the use of their constitutional powers in the fight against corruption.
Buhari expressed concern that ineffective audits had contributed largely to governance problems over the years, urging auditors to embrace good governance, accountability and transparency, which are hallmarks of this administration.
He said: “As accountability institutions in the Federal, states and local governments, and as the institutions empowered under the Constitution to review the financial performance of public officers even where there has been no petition or allegation, you are uniquely placed to tackle corrupt practices.”
“Through your audit findings and recommendations, corrupt practices would be discovered early and loopholes blocked before they are exploited.”
“Furthermore, you have the full range of audit tools at your disposal including financial compliance, performance and Information Technology audits.”
“There is literally no aspect of government performance or expenditure you cannot examine. What may be missing is the will to properly deploy the powers that you have.”
“In which case, I will remind you that under-performance by auditors, or ineffective audits, contribute largely to governance problems. Auditors therefore need to decide not to be part of the problem but the arrow to the solution.”
Commenting on the 2016 and 2017 Annual Reports of the Auditor-General of the Federation, the President noted that the audit opinion was in line with the reality of corruption, mismanagement and misappropriation facing the nation.
The President commended the Auditor-General of the Federation for his efforts, saying: “I want to encourage you to continue to do your best. It is important that all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are kept on their toes through timely and high-quality audits.”
He assured professionals that regular and constant monitoring of performance would be prioritized as the Federal Government rolls out its Development Plan.
“We know that MDAs charged with delivery of activities that impact the lives of Nigerians can all monitor and report their own performance, but the most reliable measure is an accurate and independent assessment by external auditors.”
”This is one key reason all tiers of government in Nigeria need a strong external audit function, ” he said.