OrderPaperToday – The Senate has pledged to uplift and work closely with the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) to enable the country plug loopholes and leakages from revenue-generating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.
The senate committee on finance made the pledge during the screening exercise for the President’s nominee for the position of Chairman of the FRC, Mr. Victor Muruako, on Wednesday.
Senators, who took turns to speak and throw questions at the nominee, agreed with his position that a lot of strengthening needs to be done to enable the FRC faithfully implement the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), especially with respect to compliance of MDAs and Government Owned Enterprises (GoEs) with revenue remittances, debt compliance and other fiscal requirements.
Sen. Mathew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo) expressed satisfaction with the level of experience and exposure of the nominee and said the Senate Committees on Finance and Public Accounts will work closely with the FRC to prevent corrupt and fraudulent financial practices and wastage of government revenues.
Senators like George Sekibo, Sadiq Ibrahim and Sani Musa spoke on the need to weigh in on the rising debt profile of the country while others sought to know the challenges facing the FRC and what parliament could do to help it achieve its objectives.
In his response, Mr. Muruako highlighted the need to amend the FRA to give the Commission teeth to effectively ensure compliance from agencies of government and GoEs, stressing that the amendment bill was already receiving attention from the lawmakers.
He noted that the confirmation of his appointment will help strengthen his resolve and determination to drive the FRC to higher performance in instilling fiscal discipline in public finance management in the country.
In his remarks, chairman of the committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos) said Mr. muruako has displayed passion and experience in his capacity as acting chairman of the FRC and noted that if confirmed, Mr. Muruako should do well to work very closely with the parliament to shore up the fiscal and financial fortunes of the country.
In a related development, stakeholders have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the nomination of Mr. Muruako, saying he appropriately fits the bill for leading the FRC to greater heights of performance.
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, as well as the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPTRE), Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) chapter, hailed Mr. President for the choice of the nominee.
In separate statements issued and signed by the Chairman Mr. Nasiru, and Secretary Mr. Otu Otu Eta both of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, they thanked Mr. President for appointing Barr. Muruako and pledged their unalloyed loyalty to the Chairman and Management of the Commission.
In the same vein, the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPTRE) FRC Chapter led by Mr. Tanimola Sunday have also thanked Mr. President for putting a square peg in a square hole by appointing Barr. Muruako who has been tested and trusted to lead the commission at this particular point in time. In their words, they are happy “to be part of this great feat and heartily undertake to contribute to the progress and success of this Commission” under the leadership of the newly appointed Executive Chairman. They also pledged to partner with the Management in its efforts to ensure that the Commission fulfills its mandate under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
From the civil society community also came commendations for the nomination. Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani Musa, the country Director of Transparency International and Head of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) described the appointment as a worthy and important one which will advance the cause of fiscal prudence in the country.
The Technical Unit on Governance & Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), in a statement by its head, Mrs. Lilian Ekeanyanwu, described the nomination as a square peg in a square hole.
The CSOs are all confident in their support of Mr. Muruako’s endeavors, commitment and capacity to drive the Commission’s mandate transparently and effectively to promote prudent and transparent fiscal management for the benefit of Nigeria and our economy.
Recall that the senate, after receiving the nomination, referred the screening of Mr. Muruako to the committee on finance to revert in two weeks.