24 March 2014, Abuja – A former Head of State, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, on Monday urged the National Assembly to adopt a holistic approach to ensuring transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.
Buhari made the call at a roundtable for Legislators and Civil Society Organisations organised by the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) in Abuja.
PGF is a forum of 16 state governors who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The theme of the roundtable was; “Improving governance through transparency, budgeting, accountability and effective public financial management“.
He noted that it was a duty of legislature in every democracy to demand accountability in the management of national resources from the executives.
Buhari, who decried lack of transparency in the management of petroleum industry, stressed the need for the legislature to champion the fight against corruption in the industry.
He said petroleum industry accounted for 85 per cent of domestic revenue and 90 per cent of foreign revenues in the country, hence the need for proper auditing of the industry.
“It is unfortunate that the legislature has allowed the most important sector of the Nigerian economy for eight years without being audited,” Buhari said.
The Chieftain of All Progressive Congress (APC) said that NASS oversight functions should be reinvigorated to ensure strict compliance with budgetary provision.
He expressed concern over lack of functional refinery in the country as one of the major oil producing countries in the world.
Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Minority Leader, House of Representatives, proposed the review of the timeframe for budget presentation by the executive to Sept 30 of evey year.
“ I propose an amendment to the words “anytime” to September 30 which gives the legislature three clear months to work on the budget before the beginning of the next fiscal year.
Gbajabiamila said fiscal federalism must feature prominently in allocation of resources and urged NASS to shun being partisan during budget consideration.
The Chairman of the PGF, Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, expressed determination of APC to provide good governance that would promote equity, transparency and the rule of law.
Okorocha said that the objective of the roundtable was to address the problem of poor public finance management on the delivery of public goods and service.
“ APC is desirous of building strong partnership with civil society organisations aimed at strengthening capacity of citizens to engage governments at all levels.
“The APC would also ensure that all public officials are transparently accountable. “