Accountant General, Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, and representative of the Auditor General, receiving the State’s award for outstanding ranking in the subnational audit efficacy index at the Musa Yar’Adua centre, Abuja, Thursday 14th March 2024.

Abasifreke Effiong, Abuja.

Akwa Ibom state has ranked among top three states in the subnational public audit ranking on transparency and accountability in utilisation of public funds and implementation of public policies conducted by Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) with support from MacArthur Foundation.

Akwa Ibom won 1st position in 2022 and 2nd in the 2023 Subnational Audit Efficacy Index (SAE) published by the organisation and presented to the public on Thursday 14th March 2024 at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua centre, Abuja.

The 2022 and 2023 SAE index was benchmarked against the 2021 and 2022 audited financial statements of the state published by the office of the Accountant General and audited by the office of the Auditor General of the state.

The SAE index annual report is an evidence-based assessment of the level of transparency and accountability operational in the management of public funds, and implementation of public policies in the 36 states through public audit and key actors in the public audit action cycle.

The scoring criteria for the SAE index covers eight areas, namely, audit legal framework and operationalisation, submission of annual activity report, published audit documents, implementation of House of Assembly resolutions on audit recommendations, evidence of performance audit, availability of citizens’ accountability report, effectiveness of public accounts committee, and civil society/media participation in the audit process.

A four year SAE index performance trend covering 2020 – 2023 published by the organisation with support from MacArthur Foundation shows that Akwa Ibom state has consistently scored above 60% on the eight priority audit areas.

Accountant General of the state, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien and Auditor General, Mr Isaiah Ntekim jointly received the 2022 and 2023 SAE index award on behalf of the Akwa Ibom state government.

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Pastor Andrew-Essien who is a fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, lauded PLSI and MacArthur Foundation for seeking to expand the accountability frontier of subnational government through audit assessment.

He said the state’s high ranking on the subnational audit efficacy index signposted the impact of fiscal reforms undertaken by the immediate past and current administrations in the state and the avowed commitment of the government to judicious use of public funds for development.

“The organisation did a very thorough assessment and our state has consistently come out tops. This speaks to the commitment of our state in running an open, transparent, and accountable fiscal government framework. The ranking also highlights the very meticulous and highly professional manner with which the finance sector players in the state have been doing their job”, the AG said.

The Accountant General and Auditor General dedicated the award to the Governor, Pastor Umo Eno and citizens of the state.

Executive Director, PLSI, Mr Olusegun Elemo, at the presentation of the SAE index 2023 and awards for 2022 and 2023, chaired by the chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said the assessment seeks to promote active citizens’ engagement with Nigeria’s public audit system and processes.

The Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative is a non-profit organisation established in 2016 to advance accountability, foster good governance, and enhance development in marginalised and underserved communities.

PLSI works around six domains, value for money (revenue and expenditure); research, policy and advocacy; citizens’ participation, engagement and involvement, climate change adaptation and energy accountability; institutional support and capacity strengthening and gender equality accountability.

The event with the theme, “Expanding accountability frontier for equitable and inclusive subnational development in Nigeria”, had Director General, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Prof Antonia Simbine, as keynote speaker, and was attended by leading civic actors including the CEO of PPDC, Mr Jibril Shittu, Country Director, Nigeria Result for Development, Mr Felix Obi, Executive Director, Disability, Not a Barrier Initiative, Mr Funso Olajide, Lead, Strengthening Health Systems, BudgIT Foundation, Dr Blobele Davidson, Finance Commissioners, State Accountant Generals and Auditor Generals.

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