Prior to 2015, the Nigerian economy was at its lowest ebb with alleged mismanagement of the nation’s resources. Then, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) assured Nigerians that once he was voted in, he would ensure financial prudence and restore public trust back to the nation’s financial architecture.
This is why shortly after assuming office, President Buhari instituted the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), as one of the departments in the Finance ministry.
While giving PICA its terms of operations, the President had charged the PICA with the responsibility of putting systems and frameworks in place over finance and spending of government revenue. One of PICA’s goals was also to maximize the utilization of the resources through continuous assurance, so as to ensure that requirements for improved efficiency, effectiveness and accountability are met.
Living to its billing, PICA was able to save costs in running the government, while it blocked leakages and wasteful spending in government and it successfully coordinated the whistleblower policy of the Federal Government.
For instance, the Intensive and diligent forensic audit of IPPIS and nominal roll carried out by PICA led to monthly reduction of personnel cost (salaries) from N151 billion while in February 2016 to N138 billion by August 2016.
Similarly, the PICA successfully coordinated reduction in pension cost from N15 billion to N14.5 billion monthly. This reduction has since been sustained through efforts of the Finance Minister.
Since its inauguration, the PICA has achieved tremendous successes.
The Continuous Audit Team conducted investigations into infractions committed by some staff of PTAD. The investigation led to disciplinary action against five (5) top management staff of PTAD including its former Director-General.
PICA in the course of its investigation also discovered that 196 Foreign Service officers who continued to receive salaries after exiting the Federal Service. The sum of N 192 million was collected by these officers as salaries even after leaving the service. The case was investigated by the EFCC for recovery of aforementioned funds on completion of the investigation.
PICA also did greatly in the Federal Government’s whistleblower programme, where over N143 billion has since been recovered.
It is not in doubt that the activities of PICA has reshaped the economic focus of the government and helped engender prudence in the management of the nation’s wealth.