By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has called for a quick amendment of its Act to allow the punishment of agencies who fail to render their accounts as prescribed by law.

The commission said the immediate amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) will put an end to deliberate violations by public servants.

On several occasions, the National Assembly had decried the failure of some government agencies to remit revenue generated to the government.

Many federal lawmakers had argued that the country would not need to borrow much if agencies are viable and remitted the desired revenue to the federation account.

The fiscal commission currently has 122 revenue-generating agencies on its list.

Speaking at a press conference organised by Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) in Abuja, the Acting Chairman of FRC, Victor Muruako, said some heads of the revenue-generating agencies find it convenient to violate the law because there are no prescribed punishments in the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Muruako said if the amendment is passed and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, revenue-generating agencies will be compelled to produce the necessary information the commission requires to do its job.

“For instance, the proposed amendment seeks to end the impunity that has previously attended the deliberate violation of critical provisions of the act, especially regarding availing the commission, on request, certain documents/information relating to public revenues and expenditure as provided under Section 2(1) of the act.

“These requests have had previously been disregarded with consequences. There are no punishments provided for offences committed under the act,” Muruako said.

Executive Director of PLSI, Olusegun Elemo, said the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has shown that the government must be prudent in managing the revenues it gets.

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While calling on the national assembly to ensure that the needed amendments to the FRC Act are passed, Elemo said funds borrowed by the government must be spent judiciously.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to fore the need to manage revenues more prudently. A large portion of the N13 trillion proposed 2021 budget will be borrowed as said by the minister of finance.

“If we are borrowing that much, it is our responsibility to ensure that whatever we are getting today is managed, efficiently utilised and effectively spent.

“This is an anti-corruption effort on its own, there are many institutions of government that are all fighting corruption together, you cannot talk about anti-corruption without talking about fiscal prudent, accountability and transparency, so part of that transparency effort is that agencies of government must publish regularly their audited financial statement.

“So if you generate revenue for the government you must remit 80 percent of that revenue to the federation account and it is all part of accountability. And I think that is why we all need to support the Amendment process of the Fiscal Responsibility Act,” Elemo said.

The Nation