Victor Muruako , the acting Chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), says the agency has caused agencies to remit ₦350 billion to the Federation Account as operating surpluses from revenue generating agencies.
Muruako made the statement at a meeting on the “Assessment of Nigeria’s Fiscal Responsibility Index’’, organised by the commission in collaboration with the Centre for Social Justice in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that the remittances were made into the Consolidated Revenue Fund in the last few years.
“Had the commission been properly supported, more money would have been generated,’’ he said.
Muruako said the meeting was to fashion out a “Fiscal Responsibility Index’’ (FRI) which would act as a barometer to assess the operations of the Fiscal Responsibility Act in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
He said the index would be a template for monitoring officials saddled with the management of public resources in MDAs.
He said that the index would also ensure standardisation and simplify the monitoring and accountability of public finance by the commission in the31 revenue generating agencies it supervised.
The acting chairman said that the commission believed that strong institutions were important for prudent and transparent management of public funds.
He said Nigeria had institutions, such as Financial Reporting Council (FRC), Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), which remained strategic in the anti-corruption campaign.
He, however, said that those institutions would not work if not properly equipped and financed.
Muruako said the enactment of the FRC Act had introduced the act of budgeting based on oil price assumption, formalisation of annual budget process and the establishment of debt management as well as conditions for public borrowing.
“The FRA Act 2007 is a veritable winning strategy to fight corruption. Corruption festers where there is idle fund to nibble at by unpatriotic public officials, especially where the budgeting process is shoddy and shambolic,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyekpere, has said that FRI will provide objective analysis and implementation of fiscal governance laws and policies across MDAs.
Onyekpere said, “FRI focuses on key areas of policy based budgeting, budget comprehensiveness and transparency, budget credibility, budget implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
“It also deals with accounting, reporting and auditing and has a section for the Ministry of Finance.
“It is partly a self-assessment that will identify the gaps and facilitate the design of remedial action, including capacity building and systemic reforms,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Joseph Idahosa, the Programme Coordinator, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), said FRI would guarantee extra effective management of public funds. .
Idahosa said, “FRI is very clear on its central message to government and its agencies that someone is watching.
” The index is intended to drive the conduct of persons entrusted with public resources, the need to exhibit more caution, prudence and care in the management of public resources.