•Seeks stronger power
Stakeholders have blamed vested interests in government for the non-passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 Amendment Bill. They argued that leaders in the three arms of government are reluctant to commit to the FRC rules.
Recall that since the passage into law in 2007, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission has continued to seek amendment to the law, to among others, be given the power to impose sanctions whenever the law is violated by a government agency.
The Commission was set up to ensure that all revenue generation agencies remit at least 89 percent of their earnings to the Federation Account, a move that has suffered setbacks.
The stakeholders spoke at a one-day sensitisation workshop on the proposed amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 in Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at the workshop, the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, said: “The FRC Act is a rule or law that seeks to reign in the excesses of the powers-that-be whether they are in the executive or legislature, and so, those powers-that-be are a bit reluctant to commit to those rules whether in terms of borrowing, or deficit or in terms of transparency and accountability.
“And so, that is the key challenge that is behind this lethargy and system that is not moving as fast as it should be, the lethargy is arising out of the unwillingness of these key stakeholders to commit themselves to be bound by the rules.”
In his address, the FRC Acting Chairman, Victor Muruako, assured that the amendment of the Act will reduce Nigeria’s quest for borrowing, as there would be more money available to government if all the revenue generation Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), remit their excesses to the Federation Account.
Muruako said: “The major lacuna we have in the FR Act of 2007 includes the lack of power to execute the law. We actually need power to prosecute, it is not mandatory on the MDAs to obey our law for lack of accountability among others.”
He appealed to stakeholders to join hands with FRC to ensure that the amendment bill before the Ninth National Assembly is passed into law.
Also contributing, one of the Leaders of Paradigm leadership support initiative (PLSI) Charles Anana, argued that Nigeria’s major challenge is lack of transparency and accountability among the MDAs.
He said: “It is important for stakeholders to stand by FRC and ensure that the amendment bill before the National Assembly is signed into law. We are hoping that the legislators will ensure its quick passage, the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed Nigeria more; going forward, we shall participate at the resumed public hearing on the amendments.”