From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) , Mr Victor C Muruako, disclosed on Wednesday that under-remittances in a good number of agencies are in excess of N1 trillion, noting that the Commission has caused over N1.75 trillion to be remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in the last 11 years.
Muruako made the disclosure in Abuja when he led his management team on a courtesy visit to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
According to him, there is an urgent need for both organizations to deepen their collaboration in order to retrieve government’s stranded funds and plug loopholes in public finance management.
Muruako, who acknowledged that the FRC has enjoyed a robust relationship with the ICPC, said the corruption and public sector tardiness must be tackled headlong in the interest of the country.
He noted that the FRC, statutorily charged with the mandate to monitor the implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), 2007, is ‘an institutional response to the quest for a regime of prudent, ethical and efficient management of public finances at all tiers of the government in Nigeria.’
According to the FRC chairman, ‘in order to ensure that the FRA was adhered to, the Commission had to devise alternative strategies to nudge the MDAs to discharge their functions through stakeholders’ interactions and bilateral engagements geared towards increasing awareness and understanding the requirements of the FRA, 2007.’
Regretting that Nigeria’s economy is at a precarious situation with respect to financial constraints in funding of public projects, Muruako noted that corrupt officials cart away billions of naira in different guises through government funds under their care.. ‘We cannot afford to continue to watch this situation continue,’ he said.
The FRC chairman sought the support of the ICPC in capacity building and training of staff of the Commission.
Responding, the Chairman of the ICPC, Prof Owasanoye, identified assets recovery and capital projects tracking as areas of immediate cooperation between his agency and the FRC, adding that the mandates of both organizations make their collaboration a natural arrangement in order to eliminate impunity and corruption in public office.
‘We are quite happy to collaborate with the FRC in the areas of assets recovery and capital projects tracking and to leverage on our enforcement powers to achieve the mandates of our agencies,’ he said.
Owasanoye also pledged the support of the ICPC in manpower development and training for staff of the FRC, stressing that capacity-building is very important towards the realization of the objectives of anti-corruption agencies of government.
He thanked the FRC chairman for the visit and congratulated him on the nomination and senate confirmation of his appointment.