By Obinna Chima

Members of the current National Assembly have been advised to ensure the passage into law, the Audit Bill 2014, before the expiration of their tenure.

wpid-Honourable20Aminu20Tambuwal2.jpgThe bill seeks to repeal the Audit Ordinance Act of 1956 and the Public Accounts Committee Act 1990. If passed into law, the bill would also lead to the detachment of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) from the presidency and establish an Audit Service Commission.

The consideration of the bill was in the order of schedule of activities at the House of Representatives yesterday, but was stepped without any reason.

A statement yesterday urged member of the House to ensure that the bill is passed into law. It stressed that the Audit Bill if passed into law, would help curb corruption and promote transparency in public institutions.

“The incoming political party at the federal level and the incoming president campaigned based on change and Muhammed Buhari is widely known as an anti-corruption crusader and he must be supported by all Nigerians. One area to fight corruption is through the speedy passage of this bill so that the incoming government can function effectively.

“This bill is passed into law will promote transparency and sanity in a lot of institutions and promote good governance.”

Part of the bill also states: “The National Assembly to appoint independent auditor to audit financial statements of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. The National Assembly would be appointing the independent auditor to audit the accounts of the Audit Service Commission.”

Continuing, the statement noted that the bill if passed into law would facilitate international best practice.

?In 1958, when the office of the Auditor General was created, the designation of the office holder was Director of Audit. Since it is now Auditor General, the law backing it has become obsolete and needs to be reviewed as a matter of urgency.

?Technically, the law has been repealed and is not in our statute books. The youngest country in the world (South Sudan) has an audit law and the supposed giant of Africa has none. Yet we are making noise about fighting corruption.

?Since 1999 when democracy returned, we have passed many laws and yet we still don’t have an audit law which backs up our nation’s oldest institution. How do we expect the nation to fight corruption if we cannot empower the office entrusted with this constitutional duty?

?The Deputy Speaker is the one who presides over all committees to do with accountability. Since 1999, the law has not been reviewed. Are we sincere with our fight against corruption or are we just paying lip service?? it queried.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, had urged Nigerians to align with modern trend in digital auditing, while commenting on the bill during its public hearing.

According to him, the bill when passed into law, would help create Audit Service Commission, which will allow the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation the latitude to restructure auditing practice in Nigeria thereby subjecting it to modern trend in digital auditing.

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