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How to stop stealing of public funds – Fiscal Commission Chair

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The Chairman Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Mr Victor Muruako has decried the utter non- compliance with the laws regulating Public finance in Nigeria.

Specifically, he said t. has been non chalant attitude towards remittance of public funds by Ministries,Departments and Agencies, MDAs because of the gaps in the laws especially the lack of sanctions for failure.If the Federal Responsibility Act (FRA) for instance is reviewed with emphasis on sanctions, public officers holders will sit up, he argued.

The chairman made these assertions at a media parley organised by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative and its partners on Wednesday in Abuja.

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He argued that alot of damage was done when the aspect regarding sanctions for non-remittance was pulled out of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.T. is thus the urgent need to review the act.

T. is also the need to ensure that funds are not at the beck and call of officials.Equally, he argued that Nigerians should ensure borrowing limits are set and strictly ad.d to.

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If Nigerians demanded the strict implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, most of the challenges in public finance management will be solved,Muruako said

Speaking earlier, Mr Okey Epia, Executive Director, OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative said the occasion was meant to present two baseline reports while executing The Gift Nigeria Project.
The reports include: Mainstreaming Fiscal Responsibility in Nigeria’s Petroleum Sector – A policy brief by The Gift Nigeria Project; and W. is the Money? – A Revenue Remittance Compliance index of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (Vol 1).

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The Gift Nigeria Project supported by USAID is being implemented by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative,Centre for Transparency Advocacy, HipCity Innovation Centre,CLICE Foundation and Nigeria Institute Quantity Surveyors.

Epia said the conversation is about how to plug loopholes in the extractive sector, get the relevant acts properly amended, get MDAs to do the right thing, to ensure increases in remittances and how to get citizens to follow up on the gaps and public projects delivery.

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Given the political season Nigeria finds herself, the conversion is being shifted to ensure that political actors focus on key accountability issues, to get them give assurances on how they they will address issues post 2023,Epia said.

Bassey Bassey, one of the stakeholders who spoke said if many young people engage the political actors, such moves will elicit hope.He noted that the Projects being implemented include street Parliament aimed at gauging the perception of Nigerians on issues.

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Faith Nwadishi, a renowned re. accountability activist commented the leadership of the FRC.She also reiterated critical questions that need to be addressed around natural re.s, energy transition and other related matters, including how to tap from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War and the relevance of gas in the global mix.

Speaking during the occasion, Barrister Charles Abana, a legal practitioner with FRC addressed some of the several obstacles that have hindered accountability.He canvassed the need to improve on the personnel strength of the FRC.Furthermore, he lamented that in seeking to reform public finance laws, government has often been cherry-picking areas that it is interested in, leaving obvious gaps unattended to.

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While rounding up, Chairman FRC confessed that the commission’s mandate is difficult to implement but his team will continue push.

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