By Kelechi Ogunleye
Mr Victor Muruako, the Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), says the culture of financial impunity is gradually becoming a thing of the past in the country.
Muruako made this known during a courtesy visit by the Nigerian Economics Students’ Association (NESA), University of Nigeria, Nsukka to the commission on Friday in Abuja.
He said the commission which was set up by the Fiscal Responsibility Act No. 31 of 2007 and started operations in 2009, had made alot of giant strides since its inception.
“We have indeed made some landmark achievements from when we first began as a commission to where we are today.
“First and foremost, the culture of impunity is definitely disappearing and people are becoming more responsible.
“Although, corruption cannot just evaporate like that but you can see today that unlike before people are now being held accountable for whatever they do,” he said.
According to him, that in terms of budget implementation, the situation was far better than what was obtained before now.
“In the past Mr President would just release his budget speech few days to the end of the year and that is it.
“But now, with the Act and the commission as well as our engagements with the relevant stakeholders, including Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, we now have series of activities that will definitely lead to the national appropriation.
“Like the engagement with Civil Society Groups, the Medium term expenditure framework, the public hearings that are carried out and alot of other processes,” he said.
The chairman said that all these were definite steps towards planning in such a way that national budget was no longer the way it used to be which has led to gains.
“There must be absolute planning because if you fail to plan, then you have already planned to fail,” he said.
The FRC boss said that the commission had also made alot of giant strides in the aspect of revenue generation.
He explained that the ability of the commission to come up with the template for the calculation of operating surplus that was quite acceptable, had really yielded lots of revenue.
“Earnings to the consolidated revenue funds of the Federal Government have greatly increased. I can tell you that year upon year, we have continued to improve in that area.
“We have been working in collaboration with other stakeholders, particularly the National Assembly, the Office of the Budget of the Federation, Ministry of Finance and Accountant General of the Federation.
“So if you check the quantum. For the first time in 2021, the independent revenue of the Federal Government was able to hit the trillion mark.
“This can obviously be traced to alot of activities by the commission and we are still counting,” he said.
He said that there was need to continuously embark on youth sensitization to help in instilling the culture of fiscal discipline in the lives of young citizens.
“This is because one of the problems we identified with issues of instilling fiscal discipline in public officials is that it is very difficult to change adults as bad habits die very hard.
“So, we at the commission felt that one of our key strategies is to reach out to the leaders of tomorrow who are the public-officials-to-be.
“We want to catch them young while they are still at that early stage and we started this by setting up what we call ‘Army of Fiscal Responsibility Enthusiasts’,” he said.
Godspromise Ngadi, the President of NESA, University of Nigeria, Nsukka said the association was privileged to have been impacted with so much knowledge about the activities of the commission.
“We have come to understand that one of the primary responsibility of the FRC is to harness the country’s resources, promote efficiency as well as dynamism and economic development.
“We have also been charged as fiscal responsibility enthusiasts to be disciples of fiscal accountability.
“We will cascade this message to our various institutions, homes and the society and ensure our impact is felt in the country at large,” he assured. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Sadiya Hamza