A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) today charged President Muhammadu Buhari to sanction officials of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) indicted of violating financial regulations of the public service.
The Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa (Rafsanjani), who spoke for the CSOs coalition at a media briefing on the theme ‘Imperative of the Return to Good Governance Issues’ held in Abuja, faulted the silence of the President after the breaches had been made public.
He expressed concern that despite the Auditor General of the Federation’s audit report indicting various MDAs over lack of transparency in their public finance processes, President Buhari had not shown any intention to act on the AGF’s report findings
Musa explained: “The Presidency has also done nothing to sanction erring MDAs indicted in the report in spite of its discourse of zero-tolerance and the disregard of due process.
“Earlier this year, the Auditor General of the Federation in his 2016 audit report made damning revelations which depicted gross violations of the constitution and Financial Responsibility Act by MDAs.
“For example, the report indicates a progressive surge in the number MDAs that failed to submit their report from 146 in 2014 to 323 in 2016. The report also shows that many MDAs are non-compliant to the financial regulations considering that these infractions provide avenues for corruption and financial leakages”, he added.
The CSOs coalition also charged the President to assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) as doing so would facilitate wide spread reforms in the oil and gas sector, noting that doing so would attract revenue and other capacity building benefits to the country.
This is even as the group also rued the Executive and National Assembly’s failure to finalise deliberations on the three outstanding components of the PIGB as both sides continued to disagree on matters of political nomadism.
The CISLAC Executive Director wondered why the President was yet to assent to the PIGB, questioning whether it is not a ploy by the National Assembly and the Presidency to continue to encourage opacity in the management of the revenues accruing from the hydrocarbon resources.
Musa further described as hypocritical the present administration’s delay in inaugurating the National Council on Public Procurement to bring an end to the illegality in the award of contracts.
Meanwhile, the civil society groups have described as scandalous the delay in the approval of the budget of the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC had initially proposed N242 billion to conduct the 2019 general election but it was later reduced to N189 billion by President Buhari.
Musa said that the amount being budgeted for elections was too high considering the government’s position on reducing the cost of governance.
“We expect that the National Assembly would prioritise the scrutiny of this proposal to ensure that duplications and wastages are addressed,” he stressed.