By Margaret Umoren
Akwa Ibom State has been rated number one in the audit efficacy Index according to a report by the Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI). The PLSI report which examines the level of transparency and accountability operational in the management of public funds and implementation of public policies in the 36 states of the federation, said Akwa Ibom State is among a few states which have made progress towards the implementation of financial autonomy for the Audit Office.
The report also noted that Akwa Ibom stands out among states with effective Public Accounts Committee in the Houses of Assembly. According to the group’s Executive Director, Olusegun Elemo, scoring parameters for the rating include audit legal framework & operationalisation, submission of annual activity report, type of audit document published online, implementation of House resolutions on audit recommendation, evidence of performance audit, availability of citizens’ accountability report, Civil Society/ Media participation in the audit process and the effectiveness of Public Accounts Committee.
The recent rating by PLSI is coming on the heels of several commendations by international organisations and well-versed individuals in public finance management and citizens’ governance. A few months ago, the United States’ Consul- General, Will Stephens lauded the outstanding fiscal transparency policy of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s led administration.
Mr Stephens said ‘Akwa Ibom State is one of the first partners in Africa that have improved on fiscal transparency. The State leads all other states in Nigeria in creating its public finance plan ‘.
The Diplomat disclosed that the United States’ government was impressed with the performance of the Akwa Ibom State Governor in the areas of health, public accountability and fiscal transparency, while declaring his commitment to increased partnership with the State in this regard.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Governor Emmanuel is personally committed to deepening financial transparency as well as consistently making advocacy for open governance. This is evidenced in the implementation of credible fiscal reforms which have remarkably opened up the government to citizens’ participation in issues affecting them. It is on record that Governor Udom Emmanuel has undertaken pragmatic institutional reforms in revenue administration, budget and public account reporting, public procurement, economic planning, debt management and audit transparency.
Over the years, government has ensured easy access to basic public documents like the annual budget, quarterly budget performance report, audited financial statements, the State’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the State’s financial statements. Besides, these documents are published online making it easy for everyone to read, download or print them as well as make useful contributions.
Well-meaning citizens are therefore enjoined to applaud Governor Udom Emmanuel for successfully running a people oriented governance enshrined in prudent resource management and financial transparency among other life-touching innovations.