Saraki, according to a statement on Friday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sanni Onogu, gave the charge when the national executive of the Conference of the Auditors-General for Local Governments in Nigeria, led by its National Chairman, Mr. Reuben Osita Nwosu, visited him at the National Assembly, Abuja.
The Senate President noted that the visit was apt at a time the 8th Senate was intensifying efforts to enhance government’s non-oil revenue through a thorough scrutinisation of revenue generation activities of the ministries, departments and agencies, and demanding accountability and transparency in their operations.
He said, “I want to urge the Conference of the Auditors-General for Local Governments in Nigeria to join hands with the Senate in ensuring that governments at all levels get all the revenues that are due to them.”
Saraki also noted the concerns of the association regarding granting autonomy to the offices of the auditors-general throughout the federation by amending the Constitution to strengthen their capacity to carry out their legitimate functions.
He said, “In fact, one of the amendments we have carried out on the Constitution is financial autonomy to local governments and I am sure that will go a long way in helping them to have a more transparent and accountable finance system.
“I totally agree with you that in doing that, we must also strengthen the autonomy of the auditors-general because since we are giving those kinds of responsibilities to local governments, it is necessary that we support that with the necessary tools that will ensure that they are effective. If you don’t do that, the capacity of the local governments with those kinds of responsibilities will be defeated.”
Earlier, Nwosu said the country could not entrench accountability and transparency in the public service without guaranteed autonomy through administrative and financial independence for auditors-general at the three tiers of government.
Nwosu, who is the Auditor-General for Local Governments in Imo State, said, “At the local government level, with the granting of financial autonomy to the local government councils, there arose a greater need to strengthen the capacity of the office of auditors-general for local governments.
“Financial autonomy to the local government councils without granting autonomy through administrative and financial independence to the auditors-general for local governments will be counter-productive.”
He also stated that the association was excited by the progress made in the amendment of the Constitution by the National Assembly, adding that the “exercise would greatly remove all constitutional impediments on the granting of autonomy through financial and administrative independence to the Office of the Auditors-General at the federal, state and local governments in the country.”