By Chimezie Godfrey
As part of efforts to enthrone the culture of transparency, accountability and prudence in public finance management in Nigeria, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) is set to commence a series of sensitization workshops in geo-political zones of the country.
The Chairman, FRC, Barr. Victor Muruako, revealed this on Friday in Abuja at a press conference on the forthcoming 2-day Sensitization Workshops on Transparency , Accountability Prudence (TAP) with the theme,”Fiscal Transparency and Sustainable Development at the Sub-Nationals.”
He said the sensitization workshop which is billed to hold in two geo-political zones of Nigeria, the North-West and South-West geopolitical zones of the country, is part of a series of zonal sensitization campaigns which will ultimately advance the macro-economic stability and sustainability of the nation.
According to him, the first of the workshops for the North-west will be held in Kano from 25th – 26th of October, 2021, while the second for the South-west is billed for the 1st and 2nd of November, 2021 in Lagos.
He said,”The theme of the workshops hinges on “FISCAL TRANSPARENCY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AT THE SUB-NATIONALS.” They are being organized as part of a series of zonal sensitization campaigns on Transparency, Accountability and Prudence (TAP) in public finance management.
“The core objective of the events is to expand and deepen the frontiers of fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability to the sub-national levels of government in Nigeria.
“The target is to reach government and citizens at all levels, down to the grassroots in order to enthrone a culture of Fiscal Responsibility, Transparency and Prudence and thereby advance the macro-economic stability and sustainability of our dear nation.”
“Participants for the workshop holding in Kano will be drawn from state and non-state actors in the North-west geopolitical zone and relevant agencies of the Federal Government. Already, we have received confirmations from top government functionaries and targeted participants from government agencies in Kebbi, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, and the host, Kano State.
“Likewise from states in the South-west zone, comprising Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and the host, Lagos State. We also note with delight, confirmations from the broader civil society, including the media in both zones. I am happy to inform that the faculty for the workshops has been carefully and adequately resourced with eminent experts, scholars, practitioners and advocates on Public Finance Management from across the country.
“These resource persons are already primed to share latest learning, experiences, expertise and perspectives with participants on the theme of the workshops. Indeed, I am also happy to report to you, dear gentlemen of the press, on behalf of the Management and Staff of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), that enthusiasm is high already ahead of the workshops.”
Barr. Muruako who remarked that the events will increase public awareness in fiscal transparency and finance management in the country, assured participants and guests of hitch free and successful set of events.
“We therefore use this opportunity to assure our participants, guests and dignitaries that arrangements have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free and successful set of events that will contribute significantly to increase in public awareness and citizen engagement on fiscal transparency and public finance management in Nigeria.
“Citizen engagement on Public Finance Management is paramount to us at the Fiscal Responsibility Commission because our enabling law, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, provides in Section 51 that: “A person shall have legal capacity to enforce the provisions of this Act by obtaining prerogative orders or other remedies at the Federal High Court without having to show any special or particular interest.”
“Section 48 of the Act further provides that “the Federal Government shall ensure that its fiscal and financial affairs are conducted in a transparent manner and accordingly ensure full and timely disclosure and wide publication of all transactions and decisions involving public revenues and expenditures and their implications for its finances.”
“These are potent instruments of the law which citizens and groups can rely on to drive advocacy for reforms and push for adoption of best practices in the public finance management space of our dear country.
“This is why we are hopeful that these two workshops will provide a basis for us to advance this sub-national advocacy to other zones of the country in the months ahead,” he said.
The FRC Boss solicited the cooperation and support of the media and other stakeholders as they embark on this initiative for a better Nigeria.
In a similar development, a delegation of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) who paid a working visit to the Commission, pledged their unalloyed support to the FRC in their efforts to ensure transparent, accountable and prudent management of public finances in the country.
Consequently, a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC). This was aimed at forming the synergy needed to carry on the onerous task of sanitizing the Public Finance Management (PFM) systems in Nigeria.
Speaking on the benefits of the MOU, the Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, QS Mohammed Abba Tor, said the MOU with FRC will to help to provide technical and financial support to states that are willing to operate the fiscal responsibility laws in their respective states, among others.
“Our members, Quantity Surveyors across the country are willing to support the FRC in their efforts to drive the sensitization on the need for states to establish FRC laws in their respective states.
“One of the benefits of the MOU we have signed with FRC is to provide technical and financial support to any state that is interested to establish FRC and to operate fiscal responsibility laws in their states,” he said.
He thanked the FRC Chairman, Barr. Muruako for his efforts and the great contributions the Commission has made towards achieving transparency accountability and probity in the country’s public finance management.