CISLAC seeks partnership with FRC for economic stability

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The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/Transparency International Nigeria, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) has reiterated the interest of the group to partner with Fiscal Commission(FRC) to ensure economic stability.

Musa who stated this when the group paid a working visit to the Commission in Abuja, pointed out that with the external debt standing at USD 26.94billion and Excess Crude Account (ECA) barely US 71 million Balance of Trade (BOT) at UDS 18.7 billion and widening fiscal deficit on account of lower oil revenue, the fiscal space is critically constrained.

According to him, tax as a percentage of GD (8%) has been suboptimal while debt service to revenue at over 50% is high and worsening.

Mr. Auwal commended the efforts of the Commission in securing greater accountability and transparency in fiscal operations within a Medium Term Fiscal Policy Framework while he also expressed his happiness with the interventions and measures by both fiscal authority and the CBN to contain the present financial resource constraint.

In his response, the Acting Chairman of FRC, Barrister Victor Muruako called on CISLAC and other well meaning Nigerians to help the Commission in pushing for the quick passage of the amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 which has been at the National Assembly since the 7th Assembly.

He urged the Executive Director and his team to partner with the Commission in achieving the mandate of the Commission, so as to achieve sustainability of public debt for economic growth for the nation.

Muruako also said that the Commission is a child of necessity born against the backdrop of the observation that the Nigerian economy and its public finance management had degenerated into serial confusion and uncoordinated policies.

According to him, “this unfortunate realization galvanized the country at the behest of World Bank, IMF and other Development partners in the late 90s to embark upon far-reaching legal and institutional reforms which targeted the creation of an enabling environment for socio-economic development and drastic reduction in graft”.

He said the need for the reforms necessitated the National Assembly to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

“This is one of the critical Agencies that have not gotten the much need support, looking at the idea of establishing the key operator of Fiscal Responsibility Act,2007″, adding that the Commission has continued to record tremendous progress in the remittance of operating surplus by schedule corporations.

A statement by the Head of Strategic Communications of FRC, Bede Anyanwu at the weekend discloded that the Commission has so far caused over N1.8 Trillion to be remitted to Consolidated Revenue Fund of Government.

The statement further stated that before now, “the Commission had 31 schedule Corporations, later 99 new Agencies were added and this brings the total number of Agencies in the schedule to 122.This is targeted at generating more independent revenue for the government”.

Barr. Muruako therefore called for more funding for the Commission “to enable the discharge of its oversight functions on the 122 Schedule Corporations in line with the provision of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007”.

 

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