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Fiscal Responsibility Commission cannot be merged

The report of the rationalization of federal government agencies in 2014 recommended merging the Fiscal Responsibility Commission with the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission. …

The report of the rationalization of federal government agencies in 2014 recommended merging the Fiscal Responsibility Commission with the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission. 

According to the report, Oronsanye recommended that (1) the Fiscal Responsibility Commission be abolished and its enabling law repealed; (2) The enabling law of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) be repealed and the functions of the commission subsumed under the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); (3) the enabling law of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) be amended to accommodate the functions of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission as well as those of the NSIWC.

The recommendations for the enabling law of the NSIWC to be subsumed under the RMAFC can be considered because they both have related functions but the same cannot be said for the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.  To properly situate this position, it is necessary to distinguish the mandates of the two agencies. The Fiscal Responsibility Commission according to its Act is to provide for prudent management of the nation’s resources, ensure long term macro-economic stability of the national economy, secure greater accountability and transparency in fiscal operations within the medium term fiscal policy framework, and the establishment of the fiscal responsibility commission to ensure the promotion and enforcement of the nation’s economic objectives; and for related matters.

The function of the FRC is to amongst others: (1) compel any person or government institution to disclose information relating to public revenues and expenditure; (ii) cause an investigation into whether any person has violated any provisions of the Act; (iii) if the Commisssion is satisfied that such a person has committed any punishable offence under this Act, the Commission shall forward a report of the investigation to the Attorney General of the Federation for possible prosecution. The Act provides further that the FRC shall (a) monitor and enforce the provisions of this Act and by so doing, promote the economic objectives contained in section 16 of the constitution, (b) disseminate such standard practices including international good practice that will result in greater efficiency in the allocation and management of public expenditure, revenue collection, debt control and transparency in fiscal matters, (c) undertake fiscal and financial studies analysis and diagnosis and disseminate the result to the general public (d) make rules for carrying out its functions under the Act and (e) perform any other function consistent with the promotion of the objectives of this Act.

The summary deduction of the functions and mandate of the FRC highlighted above implies that the FRC was established for the sole purpose of economic planning and ensuring macro-economic stability.

Meanwhile, the RMFAC mandate provides that it shall (a) monitor the accruals to and disbursement of revenue from the federation account (b) review from time to time, the revenue allocation formula and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities, provided that any revenue formula which had been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly shall remain in force for a period of not less than five years from the date of commencement of the Act, (c) advice the Federal and state government on fiscal efficiency and methods by which by the revenue can be increased (d) determine the remuneration appropriate for political office holders including the President, Vice President, Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Legislators and the holders of the offices mentioned in sections 84 and 124 of the 1999 Constitution (e) discharge any other functions as are conferred on the Commission by this constitution or any other Act of the National Assembly.

 The highlighted function of the RMFAC as its name implies is mainly to allocate the appropriate remuneration to public servants, it has nothing to do with macro-economic planning and stability which the FRC seeks to achieve.  Also the RMAFC is a product of the 1999 constitution whereas FRC is the creation of an act of parliament  

Victor Emejuiwe can be reached through [email protected]>

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