The Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI), a civic-tech organisation fostering accountability in Nigeria has ranked Bauchi and Osun states first with 88 percent in it Subnational Audit Efficacy (SAE) Index for 2021.
The SAE assesses the level of transparency and accountability operational in the management and utilization of public funds in all 36 states of the federation of Nigeria through the lens of public audit and key stakeholders in the public audit action cycle.
The Executive Director, PLSI, Olusegun Elemo, at the presentation of the SAE Index 2021 in Abuja on Thursday said Akwa Ibom and Ekiti states occupied 3rd and 4th places scoring 86 percent respectively.
He said Adamawa, Delta, Ebonyi and Gombo states scored 70 percent and graded 12th as Lagos and Benue states were rated 35th and 36th having got 41 percent and 39 percent in that order.
He also explained that they expanded the methodology for the 2021 SAE Index and it involved assessment along six scoring criteria including audit legal framework, audit mandate ,type of audit document produced and published, type of audit conducted, citizens’ participation in the audit process and role of Public Accounts Committees.
He said, “While there is visible improvement in enacting audit legal framework in virtually all 36 states of the federation except Anambra and Benue states, implementation of these laws has been disappointing and slow in most states despite issuance of letters by many state governments instructing relevant agencies to commence implementation.
He said citizens’ participation in the audit process was very poor across 17 states of the federation and Public Accounts Committees in 31 Houses of Assembly are either less effective or not effective at all thereby “short circuiting” the potency of the public audit action cycle.
The Executive Director also outlined a few cost-cutting recommendations to improve public finance management practices at subnational level in Nigeria including the need for governors to enhance implementation of new audit laws especially the financial autonomy clause.
Others, according to him was the provision of independent technology infrastructure to support the work of Supreme Audit Institutions at the Subnational level as well as the need to specify timelines for review of audit reports by Public Accounts Committees and adherence to such timelines, among others.
He said the PLSI was not out to embarrass states for poor performance but to identify areas government institutions at subnational level require support to optimise their public finance management practices, improve existing accountability structures and accelerate development.