Home Economy Fiscal Responsibility Commission generated N2trn since 2007— Chairman

Fiscal Responsibility Commission generated N2trn since 2007— Chairman

by Business News Report

Fiscal Responsibility Commission Chairman Mr. Victor Muruako has said that the Commission generated over N2 trillion since inception in 2007 till date. Speaking in Abuja when he appeared before the Senator Olamilekan Adeola, APC,  Lagos West led Senate Committee on Finance for the public hearing of a Bill for an Act to repeal and re-enact the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Chairman who explained that the money has been remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (FRC). Muruako who stressed the need for the commission to be strengthened in all ramifications and its responsibilities, powers and functions properly streamlined, said that  the move to repeal the Act will ultimately improve the commission’s funding and capacity to increase the generation of independent revenue into the CRF of the federal government as well as end the current state of impunity with which statutory obligations imposed by the Act which are routinely ignored by many MDAs & GOEs.

He said, “The generation of independent revenue through the remittance of operating surplus is one aspect of the mandate of the Commission that has added great value to governance.It is noteworthy that the commission has since inception caused over 2 trillion naira to be remitted to the CRF in spite of the lapses in the present Act. It is expected that the amendment bill will cause even more revenue to be remitted into the federal government coffers by the present 122 Schedule corporations (increased from 30 and still counting) as well as align the same with scant legislation like the finance act 2020,”

According to him, the legislation  has made elaborate provisions for offenses and penalties for the infringement of the provision of the Act which include penal and financial sanctions, just as he also emphasised the need for “proper funding” for the commission, adding, “The need for a special and sustainable funding arrangement to enable it deliver on its mandate is starkly evident. “The proposal in the bill for the retention by the commission of a portion of the operating surpluses paid into the CRF of the federal government as cost of collection, if passed will go a long way in securing and enhancing the crucial financial autonomy necessary for the commission to meet the expectation of the nation.” The bill which is sponsored by Senator, Aisha Dahiru, seeks to curb financial fraud and wastages within Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure more effective and efficient delivery of public services.

According to her, the  bill will provide a better legal framework to back the operations of the commission, which she said has been limited, adding, “If passed, will expand the functions and powers of the FRC; ensure adequate funding/increased budgetary allocations to the Commission; ensure the remittance of operating surplus by MDAs; ensure enforcement of penalties and establish the Fiscal Responsibility Council.” Part of the bill which also proposes that the commission retains a portion of the operating surpluses paid into the CRF of the federal government as cost of collection, seeks to limit the expenditure of all other MDAs (not listed in the schedule) to not more than 75 per cent of their gross revenue.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI), Orji Ogbonnaya Orji who described the bill as timely and vital to the economic well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians, said that  the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which is one of the most important interventions in the history of Nigeria’s public finance reforms, shares the same objectives with NEITI – which is a transparent, accountable and prudent management of Nigeria’s resources. He said, “There’s no doubt whatsoever that attaining a culture of accountability in the larger economy will make it easier to achieve accountability in the extractive industry which generates the bulk of Nigeria’s economic resources.” Orji who argued for clear, dissuasive and enforceable sanctions, urged the Committee ensure and enhance return on government’s investment in its public corporations as well as a strengthened enforcement of its powers.

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