Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Heads might roll in some states following notice by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) that it would soon go after states violating the FRC Act on debts and borrowings.
Acting Chairman of the Commission, Victor Muruako, who gave the hint in Awka, last weekend, noted that Section 41 to 47 of FRC Act was clear on issues of debts and borrowings, and decried that most states were in gross violation of the Act.
Muruako spoke at the regional meeting of secretaries to the state governments and heads/permanent secretaries of the Cabinet Affairs Offices in the South East in Awka, Anambra State.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that Section 41 to 47 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act is clear that the Act also applies to states on issues of debts and borrowings and if you observe, most states are in gross violation of this Act. The Act is specific on when and what it takes for a state to borrow.
“You will recall that most states are in gross violation of the 22 fiscal spar ability plan of the Federal Government, which are conditions clearly set out for states to access some funds at that level. I think in the coming days, the Commission will take it up with most of these states.”
Correcting the impression in some quarters that the Commission was basically for the Federal Government and the Federal Capital Territory, the FRC boss said: “At the FRC, our mandate is to ensure prudence and accountability of public and government resources.
“Yes, you may say the Act is only about Federal Government, its agencies and FCT, but, when you look at it, well over half of the national resources is well spent at the other tiers of government, state and local government.You can agree with me that our micro economic stability does not only depend on the Federal Government or what happens at the federal level, but at the sub regional governments.”
He, therefore, described the meeting as a good innovation and engagement as it would afford the states the opportunity to cross ventilate ideas and improve on the developments.
He said the engagement was necessary for issues of governance, development and pear review, hence, the partnership with DFID should be commended.
“I know as a matter of fact that the need for this pear review to enthrone prudence and accountability in management of governmental resources is too obvious.
“Hence, there is need for states, not only in the South East, but across the country and even local governments to have a platform like this to review because there are some states that have moved on in the issues of governance.
“On the issue of ERGP which is an economic policy of the Federal Government to improve our drive to economic stability, what are the states doing? Some states are moving on while others are lagging behind. I believe that the presence of DFID, the South East Governors Forum and secretaries to the government of various states, will do a lot if they meet more often to look at ways to strengthen governance at various levels.
“So, I want to use this opportunity to commend the Permanent Secretary, the DFID for this wonderful engagement.”