OrderPaperToday – In a bid to reduce corruption in public governance, a Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), has called for a speedy passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) Amendment Bill.
Members of the Coalition of CSOs, were at the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), to formally introduce the Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) project in Abuja, and demanded accountability and transparency in government.
In his opening remarks, Executive Director of the OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative, Oke Epia, noted that GIFT is basically an intervention seeking to promote fiscal transparency and responsibility with specific reference to the Petroleum Extractive Sector.
Speaking further, he explained that the Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency is a project powered by OrderPaper Nigeria in partnership with other CSOs focused on mobilising citizens’ interest around accountability and transparency in government.

He also said that the petroleum sector is where the bulk of our resources come from, adding that it is the mandate of the commission to enthrone full discipline across the country. Epia added that the project seeks to support the amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act which has been stagnant at the Senate for a while now.

“The commission has the responsibility of ensuring that appropriate remittances are made to the government. 

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In the area of remittances the project is positioned to help the commission in whatever ways that will ensure adequate compliance. 

One of the ways is to institute Revenue Compliance Remittance Index. The agencies that are doing well should be spotlighted and those that are not should be highlighted and recognized in order to inspire compliance,” he said.

FRC’s Director of Administration, Ahmed Zailani who represented the FRC Executive Chairman, Victor Muruako, harped on the importance of a speedy passage of the FRA, noting that the commission has come to terms with the fact that they will be partnering with the GIFT team on this project.

“Items you have listed fortunately are things that you already know. You are parts and parcel of the Amendment Bill. We have not had an opportunity to cover as much mileage as we have done in the Ninth Assembly, especially the Senate.

All along, it will go through the first and second reading, when the assembly serves out its term; we start all over again. This time around, it has gone through a public hearing in January 2021.

Unfortunately, the Senate Committee on Finance has not been able to report back to the Committee of the Whole on the outcome of the public hearing so that the right thing can be done,” Zailani said.

READ ALSO: GIFT Initiative: OrderPaper Nigeria, CSOs decry annual loss of over 80m barrels to oil. theft

On his part, Charles Obana of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission noted that the FRA Amendment Bill has been with the National Assembly since 2012, adding that accountability is very crucial in the country.

“We can’t have enough of people seeking transparency, accountability because it’s very vital. We all know how crucial the receipt from sale of crude oil is to the country’s economic life. 

You will help others understand that fiscal responsibilities must be observed. Fiscal responsibility is accountability, transparency and prudence. 

The method we have used to promote accountability is that you must produce Audited Financial Statement (AFS) as at when due. 

There is a proposal in the amendment of the Act that says that if an agency does not produce her AFS as at when due it should be subjected to forensic investigation and the board should either be dissolved or not given another term,” Obana stated.

The high point of the meeting was an exchange of gifts between OrderPaper Nigeria and the commission.

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