Federal Government has recruited the services of two auditing giants: KPMG and PriceWaterHouseCoopers to audit the financial books of some strategic government agencies which include the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC),Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR).
Others include: Security and Exchange Commission(SEC), Feral Inland Revenue Service(FIRS), Nigerian Petroleum Development Company(NPDC), Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative(NEITI), Federal Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant –General of the Federation,Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA).
The National Economic Council’s ad-hoc committee on the management of the Excess Crude Account proceeds and accruals into the Federation Account, which is chaired by Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State disclosed this recently, in Abuja.
Oshiomhole was joined at the briefing by other members of the committee such as Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State; Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; and Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State.
He said before the decision was taken, the committee had earlier in the day listened to presentations from government agencies expected to be remitting revenue into the Federation Account in line with the Constitution and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation on the investigation currently being carried out.
He said while the committee had taken the presentation of some of the agencies, it would still take more on a later date.
He said, “We have decided to hire two audit firms, KPMG and PwC, to carry out the audit of all the agencies and government will decide what to do. We are doing this because we are sitting governors.
“The interaction has been quite interesting. We have heard from the agencies and they understand what the issues are. Many of them are new by virtue of the recent changes. We are convinced that the audit firms will do a professional job and help the government. The job is going on quietly.”
Oshiomhole said while the committee did not give the audit firms a timeline to carry out the exercise, he expressed the hope that they would do their job as quickly as possible without compromising their integrity.
He said the committee expected a more thorough job because the PwC had admitted that the audit it carried out on the NNPC, under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was done under a political environment that was not favourable.
He added that the audit firm confirmed that some organisations did not open their books to them for the audit.
He also noted that the KPMG confirmed to the committee that it declined to carry out the exercise under Jonathan because of the political environment at that time.
The governor said there was room for the audit firms to do more this time because the current President had demonstrated enormous political will to ensure that the federal agencies are run on the basis of international best practices.
Oshiomhole said the exercise was more serious now because the government would not run if agencies failed to remit taxes.
“This is about making Nigeria work for the benefit of other Nigerians and we have to bear in mind that governments are not run on the basis of collection of crude oil, but government regardless of colour or political affiliation is run on taxes and so. If you have tax-generating agencies that are not remitting taxes, government cannot run like that. So, in the long run, Nigeria has to live on taxes,” he added.
When asked if there would be sanctions for those who might be indicted by the audit firms, the governor said the exercise was not for fun.
He said the government would ensure that it would not be “business as usual” under the current dispensation.
When asked if the development meant that the government would jettison the PwC report of the audit carried out on the NNPC under the last administration, Oshiomhole said that exercise was limited to the NNPC while the fresh audit would involve all revenue-earning agencies.
He added that the PwC itself confirmed that the scope of the work they did in the first audit was limited.