The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has urged the Federal Government to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), 2007 to have clearly defined punishment for any offence committed by defaulting government corporations.
The Acting Chairman of FRC, Mr Victor Muruako said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), while speaking on the economic state of the country as it marks its 60th anniversary.
Muruako said that most agencies had devised various strategies to avoid payment of the surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Funds (CFR) of the government which, he emphasised was not of benefit to the economy.
“Nobody wants to be sanctioned; nobody wants to answer an ex-convict even for one day. Nobody wants to be indicted because they are always hopeful they will attain one position or another someday.
“If you observe, you will find out that the punishment schedule of the FRA presently was pulled down for whatever reason.
“There is need to have clearly defined punishment for any offence. The act presently has offences but no punishment. That aspect of it is pulled out is a core area we are expecting.”
The acting chairman said that the amendment of FRA 2007 had ended at the committee stage of the 7th and 8th National Assembly.
He called on the current leadership of the 9th Assembly to “break the jinx of allowing the amendment of FRA to always end at the committee stage.”
“We want to use this opportunity to once again call on the National Assembly to take a second critical look and take steps to amend and pass the amendment of FRA 2007.”
Furthermore, he suggested that the payment of the Operating Surplus also be reviewed to be paid “either monthly, quarterly or biannually”.
“That means that it can be taken upfront and it will be paid on quarterly basis you don’t have to wait when you get audited financial statement for you to determine your operating surplus.
“If it is attached to gross revenue, it can now be determined ab initio as you are submitting your revenue estimation it can be determined what comes to the government.”
Muruako said the establishment of the FRA in 2007 afforded the government to better plan the economy and added that its implementation would ensure “transparent and prudent and accountable public finance management”.
The acting chairman also said the commission engaged government agencies in continuous training to sensitise them to provisions of the FRA.
“There have been lot of improvements; it is a work in progress. The government-owned enterprises hardly, before now remitted anything to the consolidated revenue funds.
“Today, we are on them. There is a well-designed effort to continue to train and retrain some of these government-owned enterprises.”
He said that the commission also collaborated with other local agencies to engage in the sensitisation exercise.
Muruako also appealed to the Federal Government to review the agencies that were currently in the schedule of the FRA to ensure that the government got returns for investment. (NAN)