The Speaker’s reiteration of the stated resolve of the National Assembly to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act gives an additional boost to the advocacy efforts of the GIFT project
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abass has restated that the National Assembly will review the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), 2007, after the passing the 2024 budget.
The Speaker said this on Monday, 4th December 2023, at a Citizens Townhall on the 2024 Budget and Appropriation Process, organized by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation and the Programmes Coordinating Unit (PCU), Office of the Speaker House of Representatives in Abuja. The event was supported by civil society and development partners.
The advocacy for the amendment of the FRA, 2007, has been top on the agenda of the Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Project being implemented by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative and civil society partners, including the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), CLICE Foundation, HipCity Innovation Centre and AdvoKC.
An amendment to the Act would grant the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) the needed powers to enforce provisions of the law through the meeting of sanctions on erring Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), including the power to demand submission of periodic returns on revenue performance showing estimates, actual collection and remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government by corporations and agencies accompanied by accurate documentary evidence of collections and remittances.
As argued by the GIFT project, at a time where declining revenues occasioned largely by wastages, leakages, and corruption have led to escalated public borrowing, enforcement of the provisions of the FRA 2007 cannot be overstated.
The proposed amendment should see more elaborate provisions on offences and penalties for the infringement of the Act whereby certain acts/omissions are explicitly criminalised with accompanying negative consequences.