The federal government diverted N28 billion from the Ecological Fund in 2016.
According to the recently released auditor-general’s report for 2016, the federal government termed the fund movements as ‘borrowings’ and there were no clear arrangements for repayments.
“The Ecological Fund was set up for the amelioration of general ecological problems in any part of Nigeria,” the report signed by Anthony Ayine, the auditor-general of the federation read.
“Examination of FAAC records revealed that a total amount of N48,601,928,311.08 was received into the Ecological Fund in the year, as the required 3.0% deduction from the federation account for the development of natural resources.
“It was observed that the sum of N28,239,060,570.89 representing about 58% was paid out of the fund as loan to carry out various activities that are not related to development of natural resources.
“We recommend that henceforth, the federal government deploys these special funds only for the stated objectives of the funds.
“We note that the various withdrawals from funds by the federal government are stated to be borrowings. We further observed that the arrangements for the repayment of these funds or borrowings are unclear.
“For example, the 2017 budget did not include any appropriations for the repayment of these borrowings.
“We therefore further recommend that arrangements are clarified immediately, for the repayment of any funds not disbursed for the prescribed purposes of these funds.”
In his remarks, Ayine expressed concerns that some agencies are not complying with financial regulations of providing their accounts for audit adding that 65 government has never submitted their accounts for audit.
“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 have been submitted to my office as at December 27, 2017, despite the provision of Financial Regulation 3210(v) which enjoins the chief executive officers of these bodies to submit both the audited accounts and management report to me not later than May 31 of the following year of account.
“As at April 2018, 109 agencies have not submitted beyond 2013, 76 agencies last submitted for the 2010 financial year while 65 agencies have never submitted any account since inception.
“The ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and their accounting officers are reverting to the situation in the past where they did not promptly respond to audit observations.
“I am concerned about this development, which is a major set back to our accountability process.”
Ayine is required by Section 85 (5) of the constitution to submit the report on the audit of the accountant-general’s financial statements to the national assembly within 90 days of receipt of the statements from the accountant-general.
In the executive summary, Ayine wrote: “The financial statements of the federal government for the year ended 31st December 2016 were first submitted to me by the Accountant-General of the Federation on 30th June 2017.
“Following my preliminary observations, the statements were significantly amended and resubmitted on 29th September 2017.
“Further amendments to the financial statements led to another re-submission on 29th December 2017 and 16th January 2018 before the final version was eventually submitted on 20th March 2018.”