NINE state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have failed to publish their budgets in the 2022 Appropriation Act.
This was contained in a report titled, ‘Fiscal Transparency in State-Owned Enterprises in Nigeria, A Case Study of the NNPC and NLNG’, published by BudgIT, a civic organisation.
The SOEs that the document mentioned as failing to be accountable this year are the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Federal Superphosphate Fertiliser Company Limited, Galaxy Backbone Plc, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas Corporation (NLNG), and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Others are the Nigerian Mining Corporation, Save Sugar Company (SCC) Benin Republic, and Zungeru Hydropower.
BudgIT revealed in the report that over a two-year period, between 2020 and 2022, these nine companies had been non-compliant in releasing their budgets.
The report tied this attitude to a lack of transparency in the management of SOEs, noting that it ought to be worrying for Nigerians. It praised both the NLNG and the NNPC for some pieces of the information they published, but fingered the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company, Galaxy Backbone Plc, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, and the NDIC for failing to publish their financial statements on their websites.
“However, if we were to assess the data of the NNPC and the NLNG based on global best practices, we would see that they fall short in many respects, especially as it
concerns their budgets,” the report read.
It said that the SOEs failed to present their budgets in terms of “comprehensiveness, orderliness, policy orientation and credibility.”
The report sought an amendment of section 85(3) of the Nigerian Constitution on the powers of the Auditor-General, requiring the officer to audit the accounts and books of statutory corporations in a robust manner.
It also suggested the enforcement of the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 relating to the publishing of fiscal data by government-owned enterprises (GOES).
Section 2(1)(a) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act empowers the Fiscal Responsibility Commission to “compel any person or government institution to disclose information relating to public revenues and expenditure.”
The report called for more transparency, urging the National Assembly to open up the budgeting process of SOEs.