The President Muhammadu Buhari regime lacks fiscal transparency and is not making significant progress to meet minimum requirements, a document obtained by SaharaReporters from the United States Department of State has shown.

The document, 2019 Fiscal Transparency Report, listed Nigeria among Iraq, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sudan, Congo, Congo DRC, Central African Republic, others that did not meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency and did not make significant progress toward meeting those requirements.

The US government said of Nigerian government: "During the review period, the government made its executive budget proposal, enacted budget, and end-of-year report accessible to the general public, including online. The executive budget proposal and the enacted budget, however, were not published within a reasonable period of time. Information on debt obligations was publicly available.  Budget documents provided detailed estimates for revenue and expenditure but did not include allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises.

"The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation did not have fully audited financial reports that were available to the public. The government maintained off-budget accounts not subject to adequate oversight or audit. Due to oil price fluctuations, actual revenues and expenditures varied significantly from estimated figures making budget documents unreliable. Nigeria’s supreme audit institution completed audits of the government’s budget and reportedly made audit reports on its website."

The document added: "The criteria and procedures by which the national government awards contracts or licenses for natural resource extraction were specified in law and regulation. The government has appeared to follow applicable laws and regulations in practice. Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was publicly available."

The US government, therefore, said Nigeria’s fiscal transparency would be improved by publishing its executive budget proposal and enacted budget within a reasonable period of time, detailing allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises, improving the reliability of budget documents by producing and publishing a supplemental budget when actual revenues and expenditures do not correspond to those in the enacted budget, making full audit reports for significant, large state-owned enterprises publicly available, and subjecting off-budget accounts to adequate audit and oversight and making information on such accounts publicly available.

READ FULL REPORT HERE: https://www.state.gov/2019-fiscal-transparency-report/

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