A Non Governmental Organisation, Neighborhood Environment Watch Foundation (NEW-F), has lauded the Ebonyi Government for improving the public finance management system.
The commendation is contained in a statement by Dr Kelechukwu Okezie , Executive Director of the foundation which was made available to newsmen on Monday in Abakaliki.
The foundation however demanded for more citizens involvement in the audit process in the state.
Okezie, also chairman of the Ebonyi Coalition of Civil Society Organisations noted with satisfaction remarkable improvement on public financial management as evidenced in the recently released Subnational Audit Efficacy Index (SAEI) 2021 by the Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (LSI).
Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative is a civic-tech organisation fostering accountability in Nigeria public finance system.
“The Initiative assesses the level of transparency and accountability in public finance operationalisation in the management and utilisation of public funds in all 36 states of the federation through the lens of public audit and key stakeholders in the public audit action cycle.
“The subnational audit efficacy index report ranked Ebonyi 12th among the 36 states of the federation and with a score of 70 per cent far above states, such as Enugu, Rivers, Abia and Lagos states.
“The methodology for the 2021 SAEI report involves assessment along six scoring criteria including; audit legal framework, audit mandate, type of audit document produced and published.
“Other criteria include;, type of audit conducted, citizens’ participation in the audit process and role of Public Accounts Committees.
“The report shows a consistent increase in the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state against the budgeted IGR, from N2.4billion in 2016 to N13.59 billion in 2020 according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
“The report also shows improvement in enacting audit laws in the state,” the statement read.
The foundation, however, said that the operationalisation of the financial autonomy for the office of the state Auditor-General was yet to be operational several months after the amendment was signed into law by Gov. Dave Umahi.
“It is not clear why this legal provision that guarantees the financial independence of the Auditor-General in Ebonyi is yet not being implemented,” it said.