Finance Minister Disagrees With AGF Over Audit Report

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has countered the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, on using the Audited reports of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs) as basis for reconciliation of their accounts on yearly basis.

According to the minister, using the audited reports of the various MDAs as basis for reconciliation of their accounts, rather than promoting transparency, added that it will frustrate it since it takes years before it is released by the Auditor General of the Federation.

The AGF, Idris, had suggested that the audit reports of MDAs which take years to be released should be use as the basis for the assessment of the MDAs.

“Since Audited reports of the various agencies are not made available until four or five years, such document cannot be recommended to be used as basis for account reconciliation of the agencies on yearly basis,” Zainab said when herself and the AGF appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance.

She said: “If such report is used as basis for accounts reconciliation, the agencies will drag their feet in making it available.”

The finance minister also told Senators that the much celebrated success made by the Finance Committee regarding their facilitation of some revenue generating government agencies to exit the National budget will not make any meaningful impact.

The Senate Commitee on Finance headed by Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola ( APC Lagos West), had last week announced that federal agencies like the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC); NIGCOMSAT and Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had agreed to exit the National budget as far as their overhead costs were concerned.

The move as stated by Senator Adeola after an interactive session with heads of the agencies last week , is targeted at reducing yearly budget deficits and getting more revenue to fund budgets.

But the Minister of Finance in her reaction to the move, said since the overhead components of National budget is the smallest, such move will not give the required impacts as far as budget deficits and funding are concerned .

“The 2021 budget is N13.8 trillion with overhead components of just about N380billion. So, if any revenue generating government agency is exiting the national budget with just overhead component, it will not bring about any difference,” she said.

The Committee, however, told the Minister to oblige it with operational template for such account reconciliation in putting the various MDAs, particularly the revenue generating ones on their toes as far as required remittances are concerned.

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