A Two- Day Workshop on Accountability and Transparency Tasks State Governments on Good Governance

State governments have been urged to comply with existing policies and laws promoting transparency and accountability in governance and management of public fund.

The Executive Chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC, Mr. Victor Muruako, stated this at a Two-Day Sensitization Workshop on Fiscal Transparency and Accountability, in Lagos.

It was a consensus among speakers at the workshop that there is an urgent need to entrench the practice of transparency and accountability at all levels of government, especially, in the face of current scarcity of financial resources.

The Executive Chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Mr. Victor Muruako, who said similar workshop had held in the North-West Zone, stressed that expected recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic could be threatened if necessary steps were not taken to block leakages and enthrone prudence in generation and disbursement of public funds, especially at state and Local Government levels.

The FRC Boss, decried the reluctance of many state governments to pass and operate the Fiscal Responsibility law which he said should help in ensuring accountability, stressing that four years after receiving the bail-out funds from the Federal Government, only four states were complying with the agreement on transparency.

Mr. Muruako also called on commercial banks that participated in the bail-out process and other loan initiatives in partnership with State governments to do the needful in line with the memorandum of understanding for transparent and accountable repayment system subject to public scrutiny.

In a presentation, an Expert in Development Law, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, argued that lawmakers across all levels of governments were not properly using the power of budget appropriation, insisting that public office holders must demonstrate the capacity to generate resources to fund their budgets.

Contributing, the Chairman, Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr. Sunday Olajide, who commended the drive towards the amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility law, said that Ondo State had passed its own law on fiscal responsibility since 2017, he described the workshop as a good platform for sharing ideas on management of public funds.

A Representative of the Civil Society, Comrade Toyin Raheem, who alleged that lack of accountability and transparency in governance was responsible for the poor state of the nation’s economy, noted that any law that would help in the fight against corruption should be encouraged.

Speaking on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Emeka Okonjo, emphasized the need for all public office holders to be accountable and transparent in handling the nation’s scarce resources as the Commission would not hesitate to bring defaulters to face the law.

The Two Day Workshop which was facilitated by an NGO Order-Paper, in collaboration with FRC, themed: Fiscal Responsibility, Transparency and Sustainable Development at the Sub-nationals, drew participants from Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Ogun and Lagos State Governments as well as Lawmakers and other relevant stakeholders from the South-West Zone.

Christopher Ekuma

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