AuGF Commences Visit Over FGIP

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Anthony Mkpe Ayine

As part of efforts to improve the credibility of public finance administration in Nigeria, the Auditor-General for the Federation, Anthony Mkpe Ayine, has commenced interfacing with key stakeholders to share experiences and come up with a position that will strengthen revenue management, promote transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.
The Auditor-General led his management team on a courtesy visit to two critical government  revenue generating agencies. The two agencies are the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Ayine explained that the Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project (FGIP), is a collaborative programme of the Federal Government and the World Bank, which will see the  office of the AuGF conduct Revenue Assurance Audit and IT Audit on both establishments.
Ayine explained the project’s  priorities include strengthening revenue management collection and accounting processes, strengthening controls and accountability in the use of public funds.
He therefore sought the cooperation of the FIRS and NCS in granting his office free access to personnel, documents, databases and IT applications for the purpose of the assignment.
His words: “Our engagement here is essentially to ensure that the collection of revenue is lawfully made. We will also verify that procedures and checks are in place and properly applied. We will work to ascertain that accounts are duly kept and appropriate remittances are made to the authorized accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to him, the AuGF will verify and evaluate the efficiency of internal controls and accounting systems and also review where applicable, areas where reforms have been made, pointing out that “the essence of the exercise is to improve the revenue of government so as to reduce the heavy financial burden of borrowing on the country”.
In his remarks, the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, while appreciating the visit, thanked the Auditor-General for his support towards the service and sought his assistance in ensuring that on a monthly basis, VAT and Withholding Tax deducted, are remitted to government.
Fowler also enumerated the many reforms undertaken by the FIRS which according to him “now makes it easy for anyone to carry out tax activities online without visiting the office or interacting with any official of the Service”.
In the same vein, the Comptroller General of the NCS, Hameed Ibrahim Ali, expressed gratitude to the Auditor-General for the deployment of  Resident Auditors to the NCS. 
Ali noted that the Resident auditors have been of immense benefit to the Service office and urged for more support in the area of capacity building. 
The FGIP was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on June 27, 2018 and has four key components, namely: strengthening revenue management, strengthening controls, transparency and accountability in the use of public funds, strengthening economic and fiscal statistics and implementation support.
The Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation is one of five strategic institutions tasked to implement the project. The others are the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

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