Rep Salam calls for transparency and cooperation between public and private sectors

Leah TwakiJune 9, 20243 min
2024 budget: GIFT calls for strategic public finance management

Salam emphasized the need for increased accountability and collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure effective governance and financial integrity in Nigeria 

Rep. Bamidele Salami speaking at GIFT Dialogue

The Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Rep. Bamidele Salam (PDP Osun), has emphasized the need for increased accountability and collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure effective governance and financial integrity.

Salam made this call at a recent event on Private Sector dialogue on public finance management, a Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Project implemented by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative as the lead cluster of other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) – Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), HipCity Innovation Center, CLICE Foundation and AdvoKC, in Abuja.

OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative is Nigeria’s foremost independent parliament monitoring organization and policy think tank that bridges the gap between citizens and parliament.

During the event, Rep. Salam outlined the critical role of oversight by the National Assembly in maintaining transparency and highlighted ongoing challenges and successes in this domain as he noted the expanding debates concerning the extent of the National Assembly’s oversight powers, particularly regarding the private sector.

Drawing from his experience in the 9th Assembly as the Chairman House Committee investigating the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Rep. Salam recounted instances where private sector entities, specifically telecommunications companies, contested the National Assembly’s authority to summon them for investigations. Despite these challenges, he affirmed the Assembly’s power to enact laws and oversee entities operating under its legislations, such as those regulated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

“The National Assembly’s oversight powers are enshrined in our laws, and entities benefiting from these laws must comply with their obligations, including financial contributions,” Rep. Salam stated.

He detailed an investigation into allegations of non-compliance by telecom companies with fee regimes and fund applications, highlighting the need to hold private sector players accountable to government institutions, especially regarding financial matters.

Salam identified documentation and access to records as significant hurdles in enforcing accountability. He cited an investigation into funds disbursed to distribution companies (DisCos) under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, where resistance from financial institutions impeded the investigation. He lamented the reluctance of some banks to provide necessary records, despite clear legal obligations to report suspicious transactions under the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Act.

Highlighting the intertwined nature of the public and private sectors, he warned against the dangers of inadequate oversight, which can lead to significant financial misconduct and corruption. He stressed the necessity for a robust synergy and a thorough understanding between both sectors to safeguard the country’s financial system.

He therefore called for a unified effort to deepen accountability processes and enhance resource management efficiency. “We have a country to build and a common inheritance to protect. We must work together, irrespective of our sectors, to foster a transparent and accountable governance system,” he remarked.

Leah Twaki

A Chemistry graduate, excels as a social media manager, digital journalist, and content creator with an interdisciplinary skills blend of science and communication.

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