Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC, has been assured of the willingness of the National Orientation Agency, NOA
, to collaborate with it to entrench prudence, accountability, transparency and, generally, fiscal responsibility in governance and governments at all tiers of government.
The assurance was given by Dr Garba Abari, Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, while receiving a delegation of Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC
led by the Chairman, Victor Muruako Esq, in his office in Abuja, recently.
Muruako stated that the purpose of his visit was to get the NOA to deploy its mandate as well as its overwhelming national presence, and the high respect which the DG’s opinion commands in the country, to win the hearts of citizens towards understanding and implementing transparency, accountability and other fiscal responsibility policies and programmes in public finance management across the three tiers of government.
While requesting for collaboration with NOA, the FRC Chairman stated his Commission’s recognition of the need for NOA to help the Commission in carrying citizens of the country along. “We recognize that your mandate has to do with winning the hearts of citizens towards understanding and implementing government policies and programmes.
“You are the specialists in winning hearts, while we are the specialists in fiscal governance,” he added.
Muruako, who identified the failure of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, FRA, to provide specific sanctions for identified offences as a weakness of the Act, appealed to the DG, NOA to help in the effort to improve the Commission’s enforcement capability by lending his support to the ongoing efforts by the National Assembly to FRA.
He lamented the fact that many agencies of government took advantage of the weakness in the FRA to deny Government of monies due it from Operating Surpluses.
Speaking further, the FRC Chairman stated that the Commission had to resort to naming-and-shaming, as well as working relationships with EFCC, ICPC and others to cover for the absence of direct prosecutorial powers and sanctions in the FRA.
The Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari, expressed delight at the visit, noting that the mandate of the Commission is critical at this point in the country when it must be ensured that waste is minimised, accountability is enhanced, transparency is promoted, and revenue generation is improved.
Abari, who praised the Federal Government for its membership of the Open Government Partnership, OGP, of which transparency and accountability are key elements assured his guests that NOA would take measures to collaborate with the Commission.
He said that NOA would undertake grassroots sensitisation and advocacy by translating salient points in the Fiscal Responsibility Act into various Nigerian languages.
Abari also pledged to work for the inclusion of the FRC in the Civil Society Anti-Corruption Situation Room, which is co-chaired by the DG, NOA.
He also expressed willingness to interpret the Operating Surplus Template developed by the Commission and duly gazetted by the government in a manner that Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government will buy into it.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that the courtesy Visit was part of the strategic engagements of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission towards mainstreaming discussions on fiscal responsibility in communities and at street level.