October 2018 Retreat in Lagos

House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Begins Digitilization Operations

September 19th, 2018

The Chairman of PAC, Hon. Kingsley Chinda revealed that it has commenced the deployment of ICT technologies and digitalizing the manual operations of its Public Account System. He disclosed this at an ongoing training workshop with the theme: ‘Promoting Good Governance and Citizens’ Access’ organised for staff of the committee sponsored by UK-Aid through Policy and Legislative Centre (PLAC).

According to the PAC chairman, ‘Upon commencement of 8th Assembly PAC, we saw the need to improve capacity of staff and members and also set the goal of digitalising the operations of PAC.

“We have commenced the process of downsizing the manual system. The hardware are ready and our seatings shall be live streamed. Today we are having a one week computer based training of all PAC Staff. Members will undergo same training upon return from recess; the target is to increase output at a shorter time and also build the backbone of the Committee which is hinged on the capacity of its staff,”

Hon. Chinda further stated that he aspires that every member of the committee and staff of PAC to be technically empowered in their various duties to increase the knowledge domain and capacity to deliver on their work and public good accordingly. He outlined skills development areas such as basic accounting, understanding audit reports, forensic investigation techniques, interview and technical competencies are some of the skill-set that he desires committee members to be trained on.

The training resource person,  Dr. Greg Ezeilo who described the PAC as the policeman of the MDAs buttressed the need of an electronic system in the operations of the PAC to ensure accurate, reliable, timely and smooth operations and documentation.

The Public Accounts Committee is saddled with responsibility of examining such audited Accounts of the federation and of all offices and courts of the federation and the Auditor-General’s report. It also examines the accounts and reports of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government as well as the audited accounts of statutory corporations, boards and other government bodies amongst others.

EFCC Quizzed by PAC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) led by its Acting Chairman/Chief Accounting Officer was quizzed by the House Committee on Public Accounts and finance on issues relating to the financial activities of the Commission from 2015 to 2018. Some of the inquiries bothered around training and capacity building programs, contracts and supplies vending.  

The members of the committee faulted a large number of the documents provided by the Commission which consequently led to an inconclusive session with the Committee. However, the Committee yielded to the application of more time by the Chairman of the Commission to put its house in order before appearing again.

While commenting on the outcome of the hearing, the EFCC Chairman applauded the activities of the committee and acknowledged the opportunity to present their reports and straighten the processes of the commission which lead to the overall development of the nation. He said “We are partners in progress as our roles are intertwined. This is the first time EFCC is appearing before the Committee and we are ready not only for our weaknesses to be exposed but to support the Committee in any area of assistance needed to move the country forward”. He also added that the EFCC would create an information desk at the Commission’s Headquarters for PAC to deal with enquiries raised by the Committee and also provide avenue for dealing with issues expeditiously.

In his remark, the PAC Chairman, Rep. Chinda thanked the EFCC Chairman for the commendations and pledged to ensure all criminal related cases are referred to the commission for further action. He further stated that both EFCC and National Assembly play critical roles in ensuring transparency and accountability in the handling of government funds as well as the fight against corruption in the country.

Inauguration of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the 8th Assembly by Speaker Dogora.

During the inauguration ceremony of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representative in the 8th Assembly, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. YakubuDogara charged the new PAC head and members to facilitate the swift review and clearance of backlog of the Auditor-General’s report which have not been resolved since 2010 till date. The speaker further reiterated that the era of dumping of crucial audit reports and controversies that result from such reports is over, he promised to offer his unrelenting support to PAC to enable the committee to effectively carry out their constitutional mandate and objectives.

In response to the charge, the Chairman of PAC, Rep. Kingsley Chinda stated that whilst the task ahead is a daunting one, they will put all human energies and resources within the capacity of the committee to ensure to fulfils its constitutional mandate and oversight duties especially regarding to the review, recommendation and adoption of issues raised in the Auditor-General’s Reports. He also expressed the need for quick response by various Heads/Chief Accounting Officers of MDAs to invitation for committee deliberations which will enable PAC to speedily accomplish their mandates in good time. He however, thanked the Speaker for his deep interest in seeing good stewardship focused on the public sector and for the trusted reposed on PAC to accomplish the task assigned.