…Says unless the issues of character and integrity are addressed, Nigeria will continue to be challenged by corruption
Financial experts have identified character and integrity as crucial tools to fighting corruption in Nigeria’s public sector.
The experts spoke at a two-day Audit Reporting Training workshop in Awka for journalists in Anambra and Enugu states, organized by FrontFoot Media Initiative.
They also advocated that state governments must empower the Office of the Auditor-General as part of measures to enhance the fight against financial misconduct.
One of the experts, SA Financial Matters of Enugu State Public finance, Prof Paschal Okolie noted that corruption has remained a bane despite many changes in the law and IT-driven applications for financial management in the country since 2010.
He observed that many states were yet to implement policies such as International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and the Open Government Partnership Agenda aimed at promoting accountability in public financial management.
He said, “Evidence abounds that unless the issues of character and integrity are addressed, Nigeria will continue to be challenged by corruption arising from deficient application of the principles and practice of auditing and prudent, transparent and accountable financial management in the Nigerian public sector.
“Challenges of public sector financial management in Nigeria include poor institutional governance, manpower development issues, weak oversight, corruption, and character and integrity.”
In his presentation, Director Unizik Business School, Awka, Prof Emma Okoye, said the primary motive of government budgeting is to secure the welfare of the people, adding, “A good government budgeting practice cannot thrive in a system void of respect for the rule of law, transparency, accountability and good governance”.
Other measures recommended include autonomy for the office of the AUG as intended by the constitution, enabling legislation, implementing national and international financial reporting
standards, and having independent and robust state houses of assembly.
The workshop is part of collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project under the auspices of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and the sponsor ship of the MacArthur Foundation.
Other speakers who presented papers included Permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance, Anambra State, Dr Emenike Ezinando, FrontFoot Media Initiative chairman, Sully Abu, Managing director, Emeka Izeze, as well as training coordinator, Chido Nwakanma.