The Fiscal Responsibility Commission has stated that it needed an urgent amendment to its Act by the National Assembly to empower it to stop impunity and corruption among several defaulting government departments and agencies.
The FRC, as established by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, said that some government agencies habitually deliberately violated the “critical provisions of the Act, especially regarding availing the commission, on request, certain documents and information relating to public revenues and expenditure”.
The commission’s Head of Strategic Communication, Bede Anyanwu, disclosed this while quoting the acting Chairperson, Victor Muruako, saying the amendment would help the commission to ensure increased generation and prudent management of government’s revenues.
He said, “The FRC with support from the Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative is to galvanise support for the ongoing amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 at the National Assembly.
“The proposed amendment seeks to end the impunity that has previously attended the deliberate violation of critical provisions of the Act under Section 2(1). These requests had previously been disregarded without consequences. Also, the deployment of the commission’s template for the calculation of operating surplus will eliminate certain unwholesome practices evident in the preparation of annual audited financial statements by some agencies in the past.
“The generation of independent revenue through the payment of operating surplus is one aspect of the mandate of the commission that has added value to governance. The commission has caused over N1.7trn to be remitted to the Nigerian Government in spite of the lapses in the present Act. It is expected that the proposed amendment will cause even more revenue to be remitted by the present 122 schedule corporations.”
The PLSI Executive Director, Olusegun Elemo, noted that the proposed amended Act made “elaborate provisions for offences and penalties for the infringement of the provisions.
“With the criminalisation of certain acts and omissions with attendant penal and financial sanctions, we believe that concerned officials would take their duties more seriously. The support and cooperation of all stakeholders in this project is therefore highly solicited”.