OrderPaperToday – Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, has maintained that the ongoing legislative process of repealing and re-enacting the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) ennabling Act in order to strengthen the commission is long overdue and cannot be reversed.
The Senator made this declaration at the Senate Public hearing of the Bill for an Act to repeal and re-enact the FRC Act 2007 held on Tuesday 6th July.
He made this point in response to an observation by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) chairman, Mr. Elias Mbam, who called attention to a government white paper on the rationalization of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The amendment bill, which seeks to provide for the prudent management of national resources and ensure transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s fiscal operations amongst other things, is sponsored by Senator Aishatu Dahiru, who in her opening speech remarked that “having operated the [FRC] Act for over a decade, a number of issues are pertinent in assessing the effectiveness of implementation of the provisions of the Act and the FRC as its enforcer”.
Chairman of the FRC, Barr. Victor Muruako, in his opening remark at the public hearing revealed that although the government has invested up to N6 billion in the FRC since its inception in 2007 the Commission has been able to cause over N2 trillion to be remitted into the consolidated revenue fund and in one fell swoop recovered over N26.6 billion from an agency of government.
Mr. Muruako acknowledged the working relationship the commission has with sister agencies, including the Accountant General’s Office, Budget Office of the Federation which made possible the huge remittances FRC has been heralding.
In response to the FRC’s boss remark, Senator Solomon Adeola said: “I am with you on this because of what we have witnessed as a committee within the last 3 months; government is losing money and the money government is losing is in the hands of the MDAs. On the area of sanctions I agree with you, anybody that is found wanting immediate sanctions should be applied.”
The Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI), Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, who was also in attendance, praised the FRC amendment Bill as “one of the most important interventions in the history of Nigeria’s public finance reforms that deserves the support of all Nigerians who are interested in ensuring that the country’s resources are managed in a manner that guarantees the stability of our economy and sustainability of our financial management”.
He further added that “NEITI’s interest is that both FRA AND NEITI Act share the same objectives which is transparent, accountable and prudent management of Nigeria’s resources”.
Other Bills considered at the Public hearing includes the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority Act and the Constituency Projects (Project Provision) Bill.