OrderPaper, 4 other CSOs commend Kalu, urge swift passage of fiscal bill

Leah TwakiJune 20, 20244 min

While the GIFT cluster appreciates the milestone achieved on the fiscal bill, it’s looks forward to its passage and eventual assent by President Tinubu

Kalu on fiscal bill

A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under the banner of the Growth Initiative for Transparency (GIFT) has called on both the House of Representatives and the Senate to expedite the legislative process to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), 2007.

The CSOs who made this call in a statement on Thursday, said this is needed  to address Nigeria’s economic challenges and pave the way for sustainable growth and development.

The CSOs also lauded the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC Abia), for spearheading efforts to amend the FRA. 

It will be recalled that on June 6, 2024, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2024 ( HB 1478) scaled first reading in the House of Representatives. The bill was sponsored by Deputy Speaker, Rep. Kalu and co-sponsored by Majority Leader, Rep. Julius Ihonbvere (APC Edo), Rep. Mansur Manu Soro ( PDP Bauchi), Rep. Lawan Ali Shettima (APC Yobe), Rep. Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere ( PDP Imo), Rep. Joshua Audu Gana (PDP Niger), Rep. Akiolu M. Kayode (APC Lagos).

The GIFT cluster, led by the OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative and including the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), HipCity Innovation Centre, CLICE Foundation, and AdvoKC, expressed their satisfaction that the FRA amendment bill has been introduced in the House and is awaiting its second reading.

The GIFT cluster emphasized the urgency of passing the bill and securing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s assent.

According to the GIFT cluster, responsible debt management, fiscal transparency, and effective fiscal reforms are crucial for sustainable development. They believe that the FRA amendment will significantly curb fiscal indiscipline and improve public finance management by enforcing budgetary restraint and aligning government expenditure with national development priorities.

Reflecting on the 9th Assembly’s failure to pass the bill, the GIFT cluster acknowledged the positive outcome of their advocacy and engagements with the House leadership and policy actors. They assert that the bill’s passage will enhance the accountability, responsibility, and sustainability of Nigeria’s public finance management.

The GIFT cluster also praised Rep. Kalu, other bill co-sponsors, legislators, governmental organizations, and development partners for their collaborative efforts in reaching this milestone. They commended the 10th Assembly for its commitment to legislative reforms aimed at driving government efficiency and economic growth.

The FRA amendment bill will ensure long-term macro-economic stability, greater fiscal accountability, and transparency within the medium-term fiscal policy framework,” the statement partly reads.

 The CSOs highlighted that the bill will empower the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) to increase revenue remittances from Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), which is critical given Nigeria’s debt situation. This aligns with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendations for strengthening Nigeria’s fiscal institutions to bolster economic resilience.

What you need to know about the GIFT Project

The GIFT, which stands for Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Responsibility Project, is anchored on advocacy to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), 2007. The theory of change is that a significant reduction, if not the elimination of opacity, lack of transparency and accountability, and other forms of corruption through fiscal reforms and prudent use of public resources, including accountable debt management, will lead to efficient, effective, and functional service delivery at the national and sub-national levels.

The GIFT Project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID through the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) Project.

Leah Twaki

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