BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – Sequel to the consideration of a bill seeking to repeal and re-enact the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, the Senate has commenced moves towards ensuring strict compliance with fiscal transparency and accountability by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (APC, Adamawa Central), said there are “deficiencies that render implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Act too administrative, especially without clear cut punitive measures” as consequence for violations.
Ahmed said that in order to make the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) more effective, there is need to make public consultation mandatory and not discretionary by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
The lawmaker further said; “There should be corporate debt limits clearly defined for the three tiers of Government in the MTEF and the strategies for its reduction and sustainability.”
The lawmaker stated further that the bill under amendment, which is intended to improve compliance to fiscal transparency and accountability, makes it mandatory for all corporations and agencies to prepare and submit detailed revenue and expenditure estimates to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
According to her; “The bill also reinforces the remittance of operational surpluses of eighty percent by Government corporations and agencies to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) as contained in Section 22 of the existing Act.
“The piece of legislation also provides for sanctions to all categories of infringements of the Fiscal Responsibility Act such as payment of Fines, prison sentence or both and other punitive measures as may be ordered by the court.”
Ahmed also said that the bill, which seeks to establish the Fiscal Responsibility Council, will guarantee improvement in implementation and compliance with of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to ensure transparency and accountability in the nation’s resources. 
In his contribution to the debate on the bill, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central), said that for Nigeria to make progress as a country, the Bill to repeal and re-enact the Fiscal Responsibility Act, if passed by the National Assembly, will deepen accountability and reduce corruption.
The bill, which scaled second reading during plenary, was referred to the Committee on Finance by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over Thursday’s plenary session.
The Finance Committee which is expected to carry out further legislative work on the bill is Chaired by Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC – Lagos West) and expected to report back to the Senate in four weeks.

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