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65 agencies have never submitted accounts for audit –AuGF

The Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr Anthony Ayine, has said that a total of 65 agencies of government never submitted their financial statements for audit purposes in line with the provisions of Financial Regulations 321.

This is contained in the 2016 annual report of the Auditor-General for the Federation, which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja.

The 2016 audit report is the latest to be prepared by the OAGF for all MDAs.

The report was submitted to the National Assembly in June through a letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly with reference C/AR.2016/CONF/VOL.1/01.

The audit report stated that despite the provisions of Financial Regulation 321(v), which enjoined the chief executive officers of statutory corporations to submit both the audited accounts and management report to the Auditor-General for the Federation not later than May 31 of the following year of account, many of them never obeyed that provision.

For instance, the report stated 323 agencies defaulted in 2016, while 2015 and 2014 had 215 and 148 defaulters.

The AuGF report noted that as of April 2018, 109 agencies had not submitted their financial statements beyond 2013, while 76 agencies last submitted for the 2010 financial year.

It added that 65 agencies had never submitted any account since inception.

It stated, “Most of the government corporations, companies and commissions have not submitted their audited accounts for 2016 to me. Only 51 audited financial statements for 2016 and 149 for 2015 had been submitted to my office as of December 27, 2017.

“As of April 2018, 109 agencies had not submitted beyond 2013; 76 agencies last submitted for the 2010 financial year, while 65 agencies have never submitted any account since inception.”

It added, “The extensive violation of statutory financial reporting obligations by parastatals is of great concern.

“Stringent sanctions, including withholding financial releases and sanctions of the chief executives should be imposed on defaulting agencies, who did not render timely accounts as provided in the constitution and financial regulations.”

On the adoption of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards by the MDAs, the AuGF said that based on the audit conducted by his office, there were a lot of material errors and misstatements in the financial statements prepared and submitted by the AuGF.

This, the report noted, led to a situation where the financial statements were submitted five times in order to make the necessary adjustments to correct the material errors and misstatements.

It stated, “The accountant-general prepared and submitted an IPSAS accrual-based 2016 financial statements for my audit in line with the Federal Executive Council’s decision to adopt the IPSAS. Our audit revealed a host of material errors and misstatements in this first IPSAS accrual-based financial statements due largely to implementation challenges.

“Our findings resulted in different significant adjustments being made by the accountant-general at each stage in response to observed lapses. The submission of up to five versions of signed financial statements in response to our audit observations has shown that there were major challenges with the first-time adoption of accrual IPSAS.

“The process requires the accountant-general to consolidate the balances of up to 924 MDAs and self-accounting public entities. The lack of disclosure by the accountant-general, of which the MDAs could not be consolidated, further affects the completeness of the financial statements.”

The report also noted that there was lack of adequate disclosure of social contributions under the Social Benefits Scheme.

For instance, it stated that a total of N142.8bn was reported under social contributions but there was no breakdown showing individual amount for the different categories of contributions such as the National Health Insurance Scheme, Contributory Pension Scheme and Group Life Insurance.

The report also queried the disclosure of domestic and foreign debts, noting that their presentation in the financial statements of government lacked clarity.

It explained that the way the debts were presented did not allow a user to have a full understanding of the short and long-term debt position of the Federal Government.

For instance, it stated that while the Debt Management Office figures for debts showed N11.05tn, extract from the financial statements showed N11.07tn.

“Figures were lumped together without quantitative or qualitative details to support the balances in the statement. Furthermore, audit examination revealed discrepancies between the figures in the Debt Management Office’s 2016 annual report and the figures in the financial statements for domestic debts,” it added.