At the October edition of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Lunchtime Seminar, a monthly program organized to promote innovation and service delivery in the nation’s public service, the Executive Director of the Center for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW), Umar Yakubu has recommitted to continuous promotion of fiscal transparency measures.
Umar pledged to continue to support and complement the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) through the deployment of technological tools and solutions to strengthen transparency and accountability within the public service especially with regard to fiscal discipline.
Citing one of the ways the Center has supported fiscal transparency measures, the Executive Director noted that the recent presentation of the second edition of the Transparency and Integrity Index (TII), a homegrown assessment developed by the Center to monitor compliance with relevant laws on transparency and open governance, has shown improvement in the ways Ministries Departments and Agencies proactively disclose information on fiscal transparency on their public portals.
He said that the Center will continue to advocate and partner with relevant stakeholders including government agencies like the BPSR and the FRC to entrench best practices in the nation’s public sector.
In his presentation on “Strengthening Fiscal Responsibility, Accountability & Prudence through the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007,” the Executive Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Victor Muruako disclosed that the FRA has empowered the Commission to compel officers or government institutions to disclose information relating to public revenues and expenditures, and also cause an investigation into any case of violation of the provisions of the Act.
While noting that the Commission has made some strides in strengthening MDAs fiscal responsibility, he decried the weak sanctions provided for by the Act. Muruako stated that some agencies also continue to flout the directive to publish daily financial transactions on the Open Treasury Portal in formats that would enable ordinary citizens clearly understand what is being displayed.
Muruako further stated that the unavailability of information on quarterly financial statements by MDAs and quarterly consolidated financial statements by the federal government negates the provision of the transparency policy which mandates that unaudited financial statements should be made public within a month to the end of the quarter.
In his opening remarks earlier, the Director General of the BPSR, Mr. Arabi Dasuki said that the monthly program is organized to build the capacity of MDAs and educate the public on the reform strategies adopted by the government to deepen transparency and accountability within the public service.
He said that the platform facilitates a regular review of reform implementation efforts and the presentation of best practice models.