Sunday, July 21, 2024


By Yusuf Ishaku Goje

Kaduna State has been ranked 20th out of 36 States in the recently released State Audit Efficiency (SAE) Index Survey, 2023, by the Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI). The State scored 28%, far behind the number one State, Ekiti, that scored 73%. It ranked 12th in the North; and 6th out of the 7 States in the North-west – behind Katsina (4th), Zamfara (10th), Kebbi (11), Kano (13) and Sokoto (15th). This is disturbing as it is a sharp fall from its 12th position, with a score of 41% in 2022, 75% in 2021 and 70% in 2020.

The index survey was conducted using primary and secondary research methods. Each State was scored based on eight priority areas: Audit Legal Framework and Operationalization – 20%; Submission of Annual Activity Report for 2022 – 9%; Type of Audit Document Published in 2022 – 18%; Implementation of House Resolutions on Audit Recommendations for 2021 – 9%; Evidence of Performance Audit for 2022 –13%; Availability of Citizens’ Accountability Report for 2022 – 5%; CS/Media Participation in the ’ Audit Process – 10%; and Effectiveness of Public “ Accounts Committee -16%.

The justification in the report for Kaduna’s score was that financial autonomy clause (Kaduna State Audit Law, 2021, S. 25 (4)) is not operational; administrative independence activated with the Kaduna State Audit Service Board inaugurated; appointment procedure for the State Auditor-General is transparent; tenure of Office for the Auditor-General not secured as the Kaduna State Audit Law 2021 did not provide secured tenure for the Auditor-General; and legal mandate to publish audit reports online is available.

Others are: annual activity report for 2022 not published online; incomplete audit report for 2022 published online; implementation of audit recommendations for 2021 ongoing; no evidence of performance audit for 2022; Citizens’ Accountability Report for 2022 not available; Public Accounts Committee (PAC) review of 2022 audit report not started; and CS/Media actors less involved in the Audit process.

The recommendations for Kaduna State are: the Executive, House of Assembly and the Office of the Auditor-General should remedy inadequacies in the legal framework and implement the audit law effectively; Supreme Audit Institution, Office of Accountant-General and other actors should ensure audit reports and citizens’ accountability reports are published online and timeously; Office of the Auditor-General and Public Accounts Committee should improve on the involvement of civic and media actors in the audit process; PAC should discharge its Constitutional responsibilities on reports of the Auditor-General diligently; and there is a need to ensure performance audits are carried out to assess implementation of government’s programs, projects and policies.

However, one is taken back as to why the report noted that there was less involvement of CS/Media actors in the Audit process in 2023, compared to 2022 where it reported that CS/Media Actors were involved. This is because I can confidently state that there were not less than three citizens’ engagements we co-organized with the Office of the Auditor General on the 2022 audit report and process. I can also categorically state that the Office of the Auditor General is one of the most citizens-friendly and accessible public office in the State. Similarly, there were two milestones on promoting citizens’ involvement in the Audit process captured in the OGP State Action Plan (SAP II, 2021-2023) commitment on Open Budget.

Thankfully, there are also two milestones on participatory auditing in the current OGP State Action Plan (SAP II, 2024-2025) commitment on Open Budget. Also, progress has been made in delivering the milestones as the Office of the Auditor General of the State has appointed a Citizens’ Engagement Desk Officer. In addition, a list of Community Development Charter (CDC) Champions has been submitted to the Auditor General to be involved during the performance audit process. The civil society is also currently working with the Office of the Auditor General to develop a participatory audit framework to deliver one of the OGP milestone..

It is imperative that all institutions with responsibilities in implementing the above recommendations commit to taking it forward. Similarly, it is important to emphasize the need for the State government to comply with the State Audit law to ensure that budgetary allocations to the Office of the Auditor General are first line charges. As it is disturbing to note some key activities that should be carried out timely by the Office of the Auditor General are unnecessarily delayed, due to inadequate and untimely cash-backed releases. The PAC should also be given the necessary support by the State Assembly to carry-out its mandate of timely review of the Audit reports and oversight over the implementation of the recommendations.

The administration of Governor Uba Sani and leadership of the 10th State House of Assembly, led by Hon. Yusuf Liman, have an opportunity to ensure the State strengthens its audit process by implementing the above recommendations; and improves on its ranking in the next State Audit Efficiency Index Survey. This will be easy to achieve if they play their part. As the current Auditor General of the State is already playing his part. He has moved the State from just carrying out financial audit to also having compliance and now performance audits. It is now time for Kaduna State to set the standard for other States to follow.

Goje is an active citizen, civil society actor and OGP enthusiast.



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