The Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT Nigeria) has urged members of the 9th National Assembly to speedily pass the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) Amendment Bill pending before them in order to block revenue leakages and engender transparency in public finance management in the country.
GIFT Nigeria, a cluster of five organisations comprising Order Paper Nigeria, Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Hip City Innovative Centre, Clice Foundation and Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors, is committed to advocating improvement in fiscal transparency and good governance in the nation’s petroleum sector.
Executive director of Order Paper Nigeria, Mr Oke Epia, while speaking at a media briefing said Nigeria was in a ‘dire fiscal straits’ with rising debts, saying the quick passage and subsequent assent to the FRA Amendment Bill would ensure transparency and accountability in remittances to the federal coffers by revenue generating agencies.
He said one of the baseline studies done by the organisation showed that 19 revenue generating agencies of the federal government performed below average in their remittances to the national treasury, adding that passing the pending amendment to the FRA will give the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) the powers to sanction defaulting agencies in the areas of remittances, to engender accountability and transparency in public finance.
Epia said that the GIFT Nigeria project has through its baseline study pointed out some gaps in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) that needed to be bridged to ensure transparency and accountability in the petroleum sector.
He urged Nigerian electorate to use the passage of the FRA Amendment Bill by members of the 9th National Assembly as pre-condition for voting for them in the 2023 elections.
Also, the executive director, Hip City Innovative Centre, Bassey Bassey, lamented that despite being the host to the country’s oil resources, the people of the Niger Delta region were yet to benefit maximally from the resources, adding that the project also seeks to enlighten and engender interest among the Niger Delta people on the issue of development.
He said the second phase of the project seeks to focus on providing relevant data that would enable citizens to ask questions and demand accountability from people in power.