The project’s goal is to contribute to the reform of audit laws and practices as a basis for enhanced transparency and accountability in PFM. It is specifically tied to advocacy, sensitisation and awareness raising, networking and capacity building for the enactment of Audit Reform Bills into law at the federal and state levels.
The activities so far include capacity building workshops which set out to build CSO’s capacity on the intricacies of the audit process as a part of the budgeting process. The workshops trained over 150 CSOs on audit reforms. The project undertook a clause by clause analysis of the federal Audit Bill and submitted the outcome to the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts. The analysis introduced best practices and sought to find remedies to the mischief in the existing law.
The Audit Policy Forum was held to bring together stakeholders in audit to review extant policies, address topical issues of concern, examine “where we are”; “where we are proceeding to”; “present challenges”; and “lessons learned from previous activities”. It brought together officials from the office of the Auditor General for the Federation, Accountant General of the Federation, Public Accounts Committee in the House of Representatives, professional groups in auditing and NGOs.
The project published articles in the print media in promotion of audit reforms. The topics of the articles include the imperative of a new audit legislation; auditing statutory corporations, commissions and agencies; follow up on audit recommendations; auditing of public accounts – the missing links; timeliness of audit reports; establishing the Audit Service Commission; auditing the privatisation programme; governance issues in public audit, etc. The media intervention increased public understanding and sensitisation on the contents of audit reforms. The way forward on national and state audits arising from this project has been collated and documented in an analysis titled “Higher Decibels of Accountability”.
The project undertook advocacy visits for support to the passage of the Audit Reform Bill to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor General for the Federation, Ministry of Women Affairs, Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, and print media organisations. It also contributed to the public hearing on the Bill for an Act to make provisions for the Creation of the National Office of Government Performance, Audit and Accountability that was introduced into the sixth session of the House of Representatives.
At the state level, the project’s core personnel have drafted a model Audit Bill for Enugu State which is awaiting presentation to the State House of Assembly.The key achievement of this project is that in the 2013 constitutional reforms, the Senate and House of Representatives have voted for the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation and the States to be funded on first line charge basis as a charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation and the States. CSJ had sent a memorandum on this subject to Constitution Review Committees in the legislature. The Audit bill is still pending and CSJ is still engaged in lobby to have same passed.